Reform must include overhaul of detention system

Detainees at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga, were escorted through a corridor.


Detainees at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga, were escorted through a corridor.

Out of sight, detainees struggle to be heard” (Page A1, Dec. 10) is more proof of why any effective reform of the US immigration system must include reform of a corrupt detention system that violates human rights and eludes transparency and accountability. As Milton J. Valencia and Maria Sacchetti report, and as our legal staff encounter daily, little has changed since the Obama administration announced its 2009 detention reforms.

While the government turns its back, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detain vulnerable men and women, who pose no threat to society, for months and years without access to lawyers, fair hearings, decent medical care, or basic rights. Taxpayers pay billions of dollars for this neglectful system, which fails to keep anyone inside or outside of it safe.


We applaud the Globe for its efforts to bring this abusive and arcane system to light. As the Obama administration and Congress take up immigration reform next year, it must include reform of this unjust detention system. Allowing it to flourish destroys the lives of immigrants and refugees and damages our nation’s moral fabric.

Mary Meg McCarthy

Executive director

National Immigrant

Justice Center


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