A report issued today by Amnesty International USA says the number of immigrants being held in US detention facilities has tripled since 1996, from an average 10,000 per day then to more than 30,000 in 2008.
The human rights group issued the report on the eve of its annual conference, being held in Boston from Friday through Sunday. Amnesty is organizing a march on Friday afternoon from the conference site, the Park Plaza Hotel, to Government Center in downtown Boston to protest the US government's immigrant detention policies.
The report launches a new Amnesty campaign on behalf of the rights of immigrants. It puts the cost of detaining an immigrant at $95 per day, whereas alternatives to detention cost as little as $12 per day -- while maintaining very high appearance rates in immigration courts on the scheduled dates. But fewer judges are willing to release immigrants on their own recognizance or with limited bail, the report says, fueling the buildup in detention numbers.
The report, "Jailed Without Justice: Immigration Detention in the USA," says many of those detained struggle to retain a lawyer to help them navigate the complex legal waters of immigration laws and regulations -- leaving some so desperate that they accept deportation even if their cases don't warrant it.
See a full account of the report in today's San Francisco Chronicle.
The Amnesty conference kicks off with a plenary session Friday night featuring leading women human rights activists, including Jenni Williams, the firebrand Zimbabwean rights campaigner who has been jailed repeatedly for challenging President Robert Mugabe's human rights violations and suppression of dissent.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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