Washington, DC — On a press call today, the Trump Administration shockingly released new details on the unprecedented growth of the immigration detention apparatus, revealing that the U.S. government is now collectively detaining 80,000 people.
Silky Shah, Executive Director of Detention Watch Network, issued the following statement in response:
“The United States is grossly obsessed with incarceration, and there is no more horrifying proponent of a system designed to strip brown and black people of their dignity than Trump.
The shocking growth of the detention system where endemic issues such as fatal medical neglect and abuse run rampant is appalling and a stain on this country’s collective conscience. Today’s call revealed the following:
- Under the Trump administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention is poised to double. Currently, ICE is detaining 52,000 people with reports that the US Military is building temporary tent shelters to detain an additional 7,500 adults in the Tucson and Yuma areas of Arizona and in Tornillo, Donna, Laredo and Del Rio in Texas. This is a result of a request DHS sent to the Pentagon that was subsequently approved by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. In addition to this expansion, the government posted a Request for Information for 5,600 additional ICE detention beds throughout California. ICE is looking for new contracts near San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. If these plans are fully realized, ICE will have the capacity to detain upwards of 65,000 individuals per day, nearly double the size of the detention system in FY 2016.
- Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is plotting new construction of a 500 bed facility and a 800 bed facility. The deadly agency was criticized by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General for extreme overcrowding at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center.
Immigration detention is not the answer: not for asylum seekers, or for anyone else. It’s a punitive system where lives are in jeopardy. Instead of overcrowding and expanding the deadly system, people need to be released now. Congress must cut funding for detention in FY20, reject the administration's supplemental request for detention funding and put an end to Trump’s massive expansion of immigration detention now.”
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow @DetentionWatch.