Joe Biden campaigned on the promise of bringing dignity and compassion to the U.S. immigration system. He and Vice President Harris assured us they would turn the page on the crimes of the Trump administration and begin treating people who migrate and seek asylum in the United States with the humanity and respect they deserve.
Yet, more than six months into President Biden’s administration, the number of people being locked up in ICE detention facilities has actually increased. This means that, in the midst of a public health emergency, even more people than before are being confined in prison-like conditions just for seeking safety, family reunification, and a better life.
When people are trapped in congregate settings during a pandemic, disease spreads like wildfire. Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred with increased frequency in ICE detention centers—exacerbated by the government’s practice of transferring people between facilities. There is no excuse for holding anyone in these life-threatening conditions.
As dire as this situation is, it is not hopeless. Pressure from community advocates has resulted in the termination of federal contracts held by two of the most notorious detention facilities in the country. This victory means we are making progress toward our goal of shutting down 10 immigration detention sites in the first year of Biden’s presidency.
UUSC is in solidarity with our long-standing allies in the Detention Watch Network in a coalition effort to close down these facilities—a first-step toward the ultimate goal of abolishing immigration detention entirely. Human beings don’t belong in cages. We belong in community. Join us by sending a message to President Biden today.
Image Credit: iStockk – Tsezer