No one should be locked up for seeking safety or because of their immigration status, yet Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to unjustly detain tens of thousands of people fighting for their right to stay in the United States.

U.S. leaders have expressed commitments to advance human rights and racial justice, but the overwhelming majority of people stuck in detention are Black and brown, both a reflection and reinforcement of systemic racism and racial inequity.

Meanwhile, private prison companies who run most ICE detention facilities have seen their profits soar into the billions of dollars. Whether they are contracted for-profit or by local and county jails, these detention facilities are notorious for poor treatment, including unsafe and unsanitary conditions, assault and abuse, and negligent medical care – making them all the more dangerous during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Detained immigrants and asylum-seekers have ties to family, faith and other communities in the U.S. who could safely house them and guide them through the immigration court system if released released and should they need it.

President Biden and DHS Secretary Mayorkas must free people from ICE detention now

25,415 people detained by ICE

As of 8/20/21


“We are adrift, about to sink, because if there is one person to be infected, in our unit we would all perish…”

Detained individual on hunger strike in Washington


at least 25,512 people contracted COVID-19 in ICE detention

As of 8/22/21


“These guys are sitting ducks for contracting COVID-19.”

Spouse of an individual detained in Colorado


135 of over 200 immigration detention facilities had confirmed cases of COVID-19

As of 8/22/21


“I fear me, my daughter, and my unborn fetus will die if we become sick in detention.

Pregnant mother detained in Texas

NO ONE SHOULD BE LOCKED UP IN DANGER

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Thousands of immigrants and asylum-seekers, most of whom are Black and brown, are unjustly locked up and in danger. Many are held in for-profit detention centers. @amnestyusa and I call on @POTUS and @SecMayorkas to free people NOW. bit.ly/FreePeopleNow #WelcomeWithDignity

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legislative change to make freedom the norm

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act is a historic bill that would end the system of mass immigration detention as we know it. 

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We need the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act to transform the immigration system to treat people with the dignity & respect they deserve and human rights demand. @(your Senators and Rep’s handles) & @POTUS must make it into law. bit.ly/PassDignity #WelcomeWithDignity

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YOUR ACTIVISM MATTERS

After more than two years of unjust detention, Maura has finally been releasedThanks to the hard work of her attorneys at the National Immigrant Justice Center, our partners at the TransLatin@ Coalition and American Friends Service Committee Colorado, and Amnesty activists around the worldMaura can finally reunite with her friends and loved ones, enjoy her passions of dancing, singing, and performing, and live without fear. Send a message of warm wishes and welcome to Maura hereAnd while we celebrate her freedom and resilience, we are reminded that our work is not done until we #EndTransDetention. 

Alida* sought safety in the US after years of physical and sexual abuse that was so severe, an immigration judge found it amounted to torture. She was locked up by ICE for months in Pennsylvania, even after she was granted protection under the Convention Against Torture. Thanks to her relentless attorneys at ALDEA – The People’s Justice Center and activism from Amnesty that helped shine a bright light on her story, she has finally been freed!

Pastor Steven, an ordained minister from Uganda, has been freed! While locked up for over two years in Texas, his health severely deteriorated under ICE’s watch and he faced constant threats and fears of removal. Collective pressure from Angry Tias and Abuelas, Haitian Bridge Alliance, Texas Civil Rights Project, Afripac, and Amnesty helped stop his deportation and improve medical care for his diabetes. After receiving a much-needed operation on his eyes, his vision loss has been reversed and he can now read with glasses. With further sustained support and relentless advocacy from his attorneys, sponsor, Amnesty activists and coalition partners, Pastor Steven can now finally fight for his right to pursue asylum in safety and freedom.

“Freedom is an invaluable part of life that is priceless. Freedom often goes unnoticed until it’s taken away from you. I feel like a newborn baby; it’s as if I have been introduced to a new world altogether. I lived behind closed doors, was discriminated against and restricted, without privacy, as well as disrespected and my concerns disregarded on tension of rules. I experienced threats of deportation and so much more. But to wake up one morning free was like a dream.”

Juana* and Norma* (4), Marilin* and Yunior* (11), Karla* and Katherin* (15), and Paola* and Jose* (1) fled from horrific abuse, violence, and threats to their lives in their countries of origin. Instead of finding safety in the US, they were thrown into the Dilley family detention facility in Texas, where there was inadequate access to care as their health and wellbeing suffered and they faced heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. Finally, after being locked up for months and some even over a yearthey were released due to the persistent advocacy of their attorneys at Proyecto Dilley and sustained activism from Amnesty supporters.  

Thanks to her tenacious attorneys at National Immigrant Justice Center, our fearless partners at [email protected] Coalition, and Amnesty International’s global movement, Kelly is free! After persevering through nearly three years in detention, where she faced heightened risks due to inadequate measures taken by authorities to protect her and others from COVID-19, she has finally been released from detention in Colorado. Kelly can now be with her vast community of friends who’ve been waiting to welcome her, and continue to advocate for the safety and freedom of her trans siblings in detention. To everyone who has supported her and fought for her freedom, she said:

“Thank you for all the support you have given me, all the strength, all your fight against ICE. They finally accepted my freedom… I’m completely grateful to all the people who have helped me since day one, since day zero that I’ve been fighting for my liberty. I’m infinitely grateful because without your support, this never would have happened.”

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