H.R. 1215: Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act
Sponsor: Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34th)
Introduced: February 26, 2009
Last Action: Referred to House Judiciary Committee, March 16, 2009
The Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act would:
- Strengthen accountability and oversight of the immigration detention system by codifying in statute and regulations the standards governing immigration detention facilities. H.R. 1215 covers more than 15 different areas of detention standards including medical treatment, sexual abuse, the use of force, access to telephones and legal materials, and procedures for detainee grievances.
- Ensure that unaccompanied immigrant children are treated appropriately when they come into contact with DHS officers. H.R. 1215 would facilitate speedy transfers of children to better equipped shelter facilities, increase training for immigration officers who work with unaccompanied youth, and ensure adequate nutrition, bedding and care of children in custody.
- Reduce the unnecessary and costly use of detention, by improving and expanding cost-effective alternatives to detention. H.R. 1215 requires that detention decisions be made on a case-by-case basis and that the least restrictive option, such as release, be considered before alternatives to detention are used.
- Establishes screening protocols to ensure that vulnerable individuals, such as asylum seekers, children, the elderly, and pregnant women, are treated humanely and identified for release and alternatives to detention programs
NGO Support for H.R. 1215: Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act
H.R. 738: Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2009
Sponsor: Rep. Robert C. Scott (VA-3rd)
Introduced: January 28, 2009
Last Action: Passed House, February 4, 2009. Received by Senate Judiciary Committee.
H.R. 738 requires states to report on a quarterly basis to the Attorney General about any person who has died while being arrested, detained, incarcerated, or en route to detention or incarceration, in state or local custody. The bill requires at a minimum that the reports include:
- The name, gender, age, race, ethnicity of the deceased
- Date, time, and location of death
- The law enforcement agency that arrested or detained the deceased
- A description of the circumstances surrounding the death
Failure to comply will result in a 10% reduction in the federal funds that a state receives for state and local law enforcement. Federal law enforcement agencies must make annual reports to the Attorney General.
S. 3594 (110th): Protect Citizens and Residents from Unlawful Raids and Detention Act
Sponsor: Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Introduced: September 25, 2008. Not yet introduced in 2009.
Last action: Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, September 25, 2008
In recent years, the Department of Homeland Security has used aggressive enforcement measures to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. These enforcement measures, however, are not governed by regulations that sufficiently protect against errors and abuses. S. 3594 would:
- Require that Miranda warnings be given to aliens upon apprehension; provide detainees with a list of free legal services, custody determinations before an immigration judge if detained for more than 48 hours; and provide free access to telephones.
- Curtail raids in or around schools, hospitals, clinics, legal services providers, places of worship, social services agencies and other community institutions.
- Establish humanitarian guidelines for immigration-related enforcement activities that target more than 50 individuals, including screenings to determine legal status of those apprehended, notification of child welfare authorities, creation of a toll-free hotline with information about detained family members, medical screenings for each detainee, a ban on interrogations near the presence of children, and a ban oninterrogations of children unless they are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or legal representative.
- Require ICE to screen each detainee to determine membership in a vulnerable group. Examples of vulnerable groups includes children, pregnant or nursing women, people over the age of 65, asylum seekers, and trauma victims. Individuals in vulnerable groups could be eligible for conditional release.
- Codify standards governing the treatment of detainees in DHS custody and create a position of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Ombudsman, who would be responsible for oversight of detention facilities.
- Create alternatives to detention programs that use a continuum of methods to ensure individuals attend all immigration court proceedings.
S. 3114 (110th): Secure and Safe Detention and Asylum Act
Sponsor: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
Introduced: June 11, 2008. Not yet introduced in 2009.
Last Action: Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, June 11, 2008
The Secure and Safe Detention and Asylum Act would provide safeguards against faulty asylum procedures, set forth procedures governing detention decisions, and provide for other reforms of the Department of Homeland Security‚Äôs detention system. S. 3114 would:
- Ensure that all detainees in immigration and asylum proceedings go through a legal orientation program.
- Require the Secretary to promulgate new standards or modify existing ones to improve conditions in detention facilities. The Secretary shall also ensure that prompt and adequate medical care is provided at no cost to detainees.
- Require the Secretary to promulgate special standards for non-criminal detainees and vulnerable populations.
- Establish an Office of Detention Oversight responsible for inspecting detention centers, reporting to Congress, reviewing complaints by detainees, reporting on detainee deaths, and other duties.
- Establish a secure alternatives program under which an alien who has been detained may be released under enhanced supervision.
- Require construction or use of secure but less restrictive detention facilities.
As of June 11, 2009