Dream Activist

Organizational Sign On Letter: We Ask for a Full Review of the El Paso Detention Center

As some of the nation’s leading civil rights and immigrants’ rights advocates, we are requesting a thorough case-by-case review of the individuals detained at the El Paso Processing Center in El Paso, Texas:

- GetEqual
- Texas Civil Rights Project
- ASPIRE Los Angeles
- South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
- California Immigrant Policy Center
- One Horizon Institute
- DreamActivist Pennsylvania
- Casa in Action
- FIRME Process
- University Leadership Initiative
- Sisters of Mercy South Central Community
- North Texas Dream Team
- San Antonion Immigrant Youth Movement
- The Reformed Church of Highland Park, NJ
- Sonflower community Action
- Operation YES
- American Gateways
- Justice for Immigrants Coalition
- National Immigrant Youth Alliance
- Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition
- Veterans For Peace Chapter 31
- DREAM Action Coalition
- DreamActivist.org
- Skagit Immigrant Rights Council
- Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance
- DreamActivist Virginia
- RGV Community DREAMers
- Princeton Dream Team
- Pax Christi NJ
- Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance
- NC Dream Team
- Donna Jones, SLPS Board Member
- Los Otros Dreamers Collective
- Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice
- Transgender Law Center
- NC Dream Team
- Detention Watch Network
- Students Working for Equal Rights
- 18MillionRisking.org
- Friends of Broward Detainees
- Connecticut Students for a Dream
- Sisters of Mercy Cas de Misericordia
- UnidosNow

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The Petition

Dear Acting Director John Sandweg:

As some of the nation’s leading civil rights and immigrants’ rights advocates, we are requesting a thorough case-by-case review of the individuals detained at the El Paso Processing Center in El Paso, Texas. Recent events have revealed that individuals who have requested asylum and passed their credible fear interviews are not being paroled, pursuant to a memorandum issued by former ICE Director John Morton in 2009. Directive No.: 11002.1 states that:

“…[W]hen an arriving alien found to have credible fear establishes to the satisfaction of DRO his or her identity and that he or she presents neither a flight risk nor danger to the community, DRO should, absent additional factors, parole the alien on the basis that his or her continued detention is not in the public interest.”

This appears to not be the practice in El Paso; furthermore, aside from the over 100 cases in which detainees passed their credible fear interviews and were not subsequently paroled, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance has found:

  • Cases of pregnant women detained in conditions detrimental to the health of their unborn babies;
  • Several instances of harassment based on the individuals’ religious or sexual identities;
  • Forms only being provided to the detainees only in English and without access to interpreters;
  • Over 20 individuals who are eligible for prosecutorial discretion, as outlined by the June 2010 memorandum issued by former director John Morton;
  • Inconsistencies in the application of the conventional standards of credible fear;
  • Instances of detainees being refused proper medication and treatment.
These concerns merit a full review of the cases of detainees and the practices of immigration officials operating at the Center.

The detention bed mandate has received significant public attention in recent weeks. As you know, ICE is effectively required to keep roughly 34,000 beds full in detention centers nationwide. This creates immense pressure on ICE to vigorously enforce immigration laws, at the expense of family unity, due process, and civil rights and liberties. The detainees who have passed their credible fear interviews do not need to remain in detention any longer, nor do those who clearly do not fall within your stated priorities.

Many of these individuals are eligible to remain in the United States under present law; ICE should not prevent them from returning to their homes in this country for the sake of expediency or political pressure.

We believe that the priorities espoused by ICE and the Obama Administration ought to be more than words on paper. Please begin a full review of the El Paso Processing Center immediately, and allow these detainees mentioned above to come home.

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