Immigrants and Asylum-Seekers Deserve Humane Alternatives To Detention

Trinh Q. Truong
Date of Publication: 
July, 2022
Source Organization: 
Center for American Progress

This report is a very thorough and well-referenced but concise overview of alternatives to immigration detention, including those already in use and those that might be created in the future. After explaining the high costs involved in detention, the first part discusses the use of electronic monitoring, and the decline under the Biden administration of the use of ankle bracelets in favor of phone based electronic monitoring and check-ins. The author mentions privacy, intrusiveness, and civil liberties concerns involved in surveillance as well as the impact of these approaches on the psychological and physical health of immigrants and asylum-seekers. The report then outlines several models of community supervision, including two programs developed as pilot projects by the government, and the drawbacks to programs affiliated with ICE even though they are run by non-profits. Ultimately the author presents the case for community-based alternatives, run by community organizations rather than ICE, with the recommendation that congressional oversight, not ICE oversight, can meet the concerns of the courts without the distrust of ICE or stigma of programs that essentially promote collaboration between enforcement and non-profits. Significantly, pilot community projects already in existence have demonstrated extremely high rates of successful court appearances and check-ins, despite minimal confinement, surveillance, and intrusion, allowing for people to work and conduct normal lives while waiting for hearings. (William Westerman, Ph.D., New Jersey City University)

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Truong, T. (2022, July). Immigrants and Asylum-Seekers Deserve Humane Alternatives To Detention. Center for American Progress.