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The Real Alternatives to Detention

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Immigration detention is growing at an unprecedented rate despite more humane, cost-effective alternatives that ensure due process. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) jails families and others seeking protection at our southern border, as well as those caught up in the Trump administration’s expanded immigration raids. Immigration detention has been proven to traumatize vulnerable populations, jeopardize the basic health and safety of those detained, and undermine meaningful access to counsel in isolated, remote facilities. Immigration detention is driven by profit and politics, not public safety. It continues to be used despite the availability of effective and cost-efficient alternatives to detention (ATD).

Where a more substantial flight risk cannot otherwise be mitigated, proven alternatives to detention (ATDs) should be used instead of incarceration.

  • ATDs cost far less than detention.
  • ATDs are extremely effective.
  • Alternatives are widely used in the pre-trial criminal justice context.

What kinds of alternatives are appropriate and effective?

The most restrictive alternatives, like ankle bracelets, are also the most costly. Community-support ATD models are far more appropriate. Previous pilots have shown excellent results.

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