Immediately after Amnesty International USA released the report, Jailed Without Justice, in March 2009, policy makers, legislators, activists and the media took notice. Through television, radio and print media, more than 10 million people learned about the human rights violations taking place everyday in US detention facilities.
Hundreds of members of Congress received copies of the report and focus sheets highlighting our primary concerns. Amnesty International researchers followed up with dozens of meetings explaining the report's findings, and in early July, hundreds of Amnesty activists across the U.S. participated in an in-district lobby week that resulted in 20 more co-sponsors for the "Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act" H.R. 1215!
In August, our experts participated in a press conference with Senator Robert Menendez, Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Hector Veloz, a formerly detained U.S. citizen, supporting the introduction of two new detention bills in the Senate: the "Protect Citizens from Unlawful Detention Act," S.1549, which would establish minimum standards of procedure and treatment for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and immigrants who are impacted by immigration enforcement and detention operations, and the "Strong STANDARDS Act,” S.1550, which sets minimum detention standards and requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure that laws concerning the treatment of detainees are properly enforced.
We support these bills because they mandate the use of community-based alternatives to detention, require enforceable standards for the treatment of immigrants in detention facilities, and provide protection to particularly vulnerable detained populations including children and pregnant women.
Find more information in our Jailed Without Justice toolkit:
• Immigration Detention Talking points (doc)
• Q&A on Immigrant Detention (doc)
• PowerPoint presentation (pptx)
• Talking points for PowerPoint presentation (doc)
• Guide to visiting immigrants in U.S. detention (pdf)
• Petition to protect immigrants and asylum seekers in U.S. detention (pdf)
• Host a screening and discussion of The Visitor in your community (pdf)