Open Statement to the Biden Administration: Detention is not an effective or humane response to people seeking safety at the border and it must not be expanded

For Immediate Release: 
Monday, May 8, 2023

Washington, DC – Today, 233 organizations sent an open statement to President Biden demanding the administration make good on its commitments to never detain families, to end privatized immigration detention, and ensure that people seeking safety can pursue their cases while living in communities in the United States rather than being subjected to inhumane detention and surveillance. The statement comes ahead of Thursday’s deadline to lift Title 42, an unlawful and cruel expulsion policy. 

The statement underscores the abuse within Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s immigration detention system, that currently detains approximately 25,500 people per day in county jails, for-profit prisons, and federal facilities across the country, costing taxpayers $2.9 billion in 2023. Organizations are instead calling on the administration to utilize options such as parole, issue work permits, and invest resources in local communities providing shelter and support to migrants while they navigate their immigration cases. Simply put, people navigating their immigration case should be able to do so with their families and in the community – not behind bars in immigration detention. For those who need support, they can access it through community based programs.

The administration should end Title 42 without relying on immigration detention and surveillance. Every person should have the right to move and live freely, without fear of being separated from their loved ones or displaced from their home. 

Read the open statement.

The statement was led by the American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Amnesty USA, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Detention Watch Network, Freedom for Immigrants, Human Rights First, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Project, and the Women’s Refugee Commission.



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 Follow on Twitter @DetentionWatch.