A report prepared by the Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic (IRC), in conjunction with two other organizations, documents serious shortcomings in the treatment of thousands of individuals held in immigration detention facilities. Released on April 29, the report focuses on the abridgement of visitation rights afforded the immigrants, who are jailed while Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seeks to deport them. Titled “Locked Up But Not Forgotten,” it is based on an examination of conditions at four New Jersey detention centers, and was presented to ICE's Newark field office.
Detainees have no right to counsel, and only about 15 percent end up with a lawyer. Visitation by friends, family, and volunteers “gives detainees a way to gather documents, research legal theories, coordinate witnesses, and perform other necessary legal tasks," the report notes. “Restrictions on access to family and community are arbitrary and inhumane in a system where a vast majority of people are unrepresented.” The 52-page document details rules and practices that hamper visitation and, it says, foster mistreatment of detainees and deprive them of needed psychological and logistical support.
A New York Times article on the report quotes NYU Law’s Ruben Loyo '11, an IRC student. “In theory, I knew a lot about detention,” he told the Times. “But the reality—I really didn’t know the reality of immigration detention.” The American Friends Service Committee and New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees cooperated in the preparation of the report.
Posted April 29, 2010