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Larsen: Immigration Detention Centers Should Be Humane and Fair

Conditions at immigration detention centers would improve if Congress passes a bill introduced today with support from Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02. The Accountability in Immigration Detention Act of 2015 would create stronger, enforceable federal oversight and standards for immigration detention centers, promote alternatives to detention, and end the requirement that 34,000 detention beds be constantly maintained.

“In this country made up of immigrants, we must do better in our treatment of those who come here seeking asylum, fleeing persecution, or looking for opportunities like jobs and a good education. We should have in place better protections for immigrants who are detained, such as access to adequate medical care and food. This bill helps make sure detention centers are accountable for treating immigrants fairly and humanely,” Larsen said.

The Act covers all immigration detention facilities that are run by or contracted under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It includes the following provisions:

  • Requires a transparent and inclusive process to develop new rules, involving stakeholders from all levels of government, nonprofits, and other expert groups.
  • Creates more protections for detained immigrants, such as access to legal resources, limited solitary confinement, rights to recreation, and better medical care.
  • Enhances enforcement to hold centers accountable for meeting new standards under the Act.

A section-by-section analysis of the bill is available here.

Larsen is an original cosponsor of the bill, introduced by Rep. Adam Smith, WA-09. Larsen cosponsored a similar bill during the last Congress.