BALTIMORE, MD – In response to the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement offering alternatives to detention in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as in Houston, Texas, CASA released the following statement from Legal Director Nicholas Katz, Esq.
“CASA welcomes efforts by the Biden administration to reduce the use of detention for immigrants and urges further policy development so that unnecessary restrictions are not placed on individuals who are awaiting their day in immigration court. The “alternative to detention” program, while an improvement over past practice, must be implemented in a manner that avoids excessive cost and surveillance in immigrant communities.”
“Last year the state of Maryland passed the Dignity Not Detention Act, mandating the end to immigration detention in the state, and York, Pennsylvania, voted to shut down their immigration detention facility. These actions represent a strong and growing national consensus that ICE detention is inhumane and harmful to immigrant families. Sadly, ICE responded by opening a new facility in Moshannon, Pennsylvania, and is now seeking to expand detention in Georgia, as well.
“Rather than criminalizing immigrants by placing them on “house arrest,” the federal government should give them access to the resources they need to succeed – including legal counsel. Studies have shown that immigrants who have an attorney show up for their immigration proceedings – and are up to 10 times more likely to win their cases. Baltimore already has a City-funded program to help provide access to counsel for immigrants in deportation proceedings, but it is not nearly sufficient to meet the needs of the community. President Biden should make it a priority to fully fund access to counsel for all immigrants and defund immigration detention, so that CASA members can be guaranteed fundamental due process rights and have a fighting chance to remain with their families. Ultimately, we need to change our broken immigration system and ensure a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
With over 122,000 lifetime Latino, immigrant, and working-class members across 46 US states, CASA is the foremost immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region and a national leader in supporting immigrant families and ensuring that all individuals have the core supports necessary for full participation in society. Now a national immigrant powerhouse, CASA creates change with its powerbuilding model blending human services, community organizing, and advocacy in order to serve the full spectrum of the needs, dreams, and aspirations of members. Visit us at www.wearecasa.org and follow us on Twitter at @CASAforall.