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ICYMI: Dora Schriro: Don't make immigration custody part of the criminal justice system

Washington, DC – In her Op-Ed published in The Hill today entitled “Don't make immigration custody part of the criminal justice system,” founding director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning (ODPP) and Commissioner of the Women’s Refugee Commission Dora Schriro writes a comprehensive critique of the news that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will roll back detention standards and close the Office of Detention Policy and Planning (ODPP)

Schriro notes that without these detention standards and the ODPP, the conflation of those in ICE custody with those in the criminal justice system will only become more pervasive, and a growing inclination toward the criminalization of immigration will ensue.

Schriro lists three reasons why the Administration should rescind its decision to close the Office and reverse its use of practices that diminish the differences between criminal and civil law and the individuals in each system of justice.

  1. “Punishing ICE detainees is impermissible. A criminal court can sentence a person to prison as punishment. The immigration court cannot. The legal remedy for a person unlawfully present in the U.S. is either removal or relief. It is not detention.
  2. Without the most basic protections provided in the ICE Standards and ongoing monitoring by the Office to ensure compliance, conditions of detention will quickly deteriorate. For example, translation services, slated for elimination, may appear to be a nicety but are in fact, a necessity. Last year, ICE held individuals from 178 countries, each with its own language and dialects. To eliminate translation services is to render most detained persons incapable of interaction with ICE or the immigration court.
  1. The people in ICE detention facilities are not the same as pretrial inmates and sentenced prisoners in jail or prison. Their violations are civil, not criminal, and those with criminal histories typically are not dangerous. In fact, ICE classifies the majority of individuals in its custody as low risk of escape or assault. They are working parents, school-aged children, productive members of their communities. Assigning them to secure facilities is excessive and excessively expensive.”

To read Schriro’s piece in its entirety, click here


For more information contact:Tessa Wiseman, tessa@newpartners.comEmily Butera, EmilyB@wrcommission.org

Also see WRC’s 10 Things to Know About How Trump’s Executive Order Will Harm Women and Children Seeking Protection here