Kemi Bello, Immigrant Legal Resource Center

For Immediate Release: March 8, 2018
Contact: Kemi Bello, kbello [at] ilrc.org | (415) 321-8568

Dignity Not Detention Coalition: Justice Department Lawsuit Signals Blatant Disregard for the Human Rights of Immigrants in Detention

With its passage in 2017, AB 103 broke new ground by creating the first state-mandate, state-funded oversight mechanism in the nation to protect immigrants from mistreatment in public and private detention center facilities.

AB 103’s implementation made it the first bill in the United States to give a state Attorney General the power to cast a watchful eye on detention facilities, and made California the only state in the country to freeze the expansion of immigration detention in its public jails.

The Dignity Not Detention coalition, a statewide network of organizations and detention reform advocates, released the following statement:

To punish the state of California for simply wanting to make sure that people who are unfairly detained behind bars are not being abused, mistreated, or starved, signals a cruel and blatant disregard by President Trump, Attorney General Sessions and this administration for human rights, and frankly, for the humanity of immigrants as a whole.

Immigration detention operates far outside of the watchful eye of the public or local government, and as a result, is a vast system rampant with abuse, and sorely lacking accountability. As a result, dozens of immigrants have died in immigration detention custody, and far too many others have suffered unimaginable trauma while locked up in a detention facility.

AB 103 seeks to ensure that all detainees in the state of California are treated to a baseline level of care standards, a level that ICE itself often fails to meet, and provides a mechanism for accountability and oversight through the Attorney General’s office.

The vast network of immigration detention centers in the United States is in dire need for reform, and the immigrants who are incarcerated within these facilities are deserving of nothing less than the dignity and respect that we would all want for ourselves.

We rise to the challenge of this lawsuit, ready to defend the thousands of immigrants jailed in California’s immigration detention centers on any given day, and we will not rest until we see the end of California’s inhumane use of immigration detention once and for all.

Organizations issuing this statement include: Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA), the Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC), the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (IC4IJ), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN), and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE).


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policymakers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC’s mission is to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. www.ilrc.org