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Immigration Advocates Applaud Bill To End Private Prisons

Legislation follows growing local moves to end ties with private prison companies


NEW YORK - Immigrant rights organizations hailed the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, introduced today by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) in the House of Representatives. The bill focuses on overhauling the immigrant detention system, mandating that private detention facilities and jails be phased out over a three-year period and repealing mandatory detention.

Immigrant detention has suffered from a lack of scrutiny, encouraging a system where civil and human rights violations proliferate and in which private companies reap enormous profits off of putting immigrants behind bars.

In recent years, several cities have moved to end their financial relationships with private prison and immigration detention companies. In June, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the city's pension fund would become the first to fully divest from the two largest private prison companies in the country, Geo Group and Core Civic. This week, it was rumored that Philadelphia's pension board would consider doing the same. Cincinnati's City Council has also supported the idea.

Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy, released the following statement:

"From every corner of the country, a rising chorus of voices has demanded an end to private prisons and the criminalization of communities of color for profits. In the past few months alone, cities from New York to Los Angeles have moved to cut ties with private prison and immigrant detention companies, and the momentum isn't slowing down anytime soon. Today, the fight moves to DC. Members of Congress now have a responsibility to show that they will not stand with a white supremacist President and will put an end to the out-of control growth of private prisons. We need more than just a clean Dream Act. We need to stop the companies that are aiding and abetting Trump in his agenda of hate and fear."

Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, also released a statement:

“Members of our communities are having their rights violated - and in some cases losing their lives - because of our out-of-control immigrant detention system and the rampant neglect and abuse in private immigration detention centers around the country. This bill marks a critical step for reining in this abuse and making sure that every member of our community is safe, with their rights protected.”



Media Contact:

Asya Pikovsky, apikovsky@populardemocracy.org, 207-522-244