BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Congresswoman Clarke released the following statement calling on United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to consider offering community-based alternatives to overcrowded detention centers that currently fail to protect the safety of immigrants. There are currently more than 40,000 immigrants in detention, a number expected to increase by several thousand in the coming months.
“The current standards for detaining immigrants in the United States are unacceptable, threatening individuals who have been detained with isolation from the families and communities, the risk of physical and emotional harm, and even death. At least one hundred sixty-four people have died in detention, often under conditions in which ICE has failed to provide adequate medical care and respond to emergencies. These problems are exacerbated at privately-owned facilities operated by for-profit companies which, according to the United States Department of Justice, are unsecure and unsafe for detainees. In addition, the costs are enormous. ICE currently spends more than $2 billion annually on detention, a number expected to increase as more immigrants are detained. We need to explore a community-based approach that honors the personal dignity of individuals who have been detained, allowing them to access their rights under the law. The situation now violates our basic moral commitments.”
Congresswoman Clarke joined nineteen of her colleagues in the House of Representatives on the letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and ICE Director Sarah Saldaña.
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Small Business in the House of Representatives, proudly represents Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, Park Slope, Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.