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Ending Immigration Detention

Immigration detention is part of our nation’s epidemic of mass incarceration. It comes at great cost to families, communities, and taxpayers–and great profit to private prison companies. The United States should end immigration detention. We should instead focus on supporting individuals as they pursue their immigration cases outside of detention, where they can continue to care for themselves and their families in a healthy environment. The resources on this page highlight our advocacy to end immigration detention.

Coalition Letter Urges Immediate End to Title 42 Expulsions and Other Deterrence Strategies Against Asylum Seekers

June 30, 2021

The American Immigration Council and American Immigration Lawyers Association joined a coalition of 105 organizations in expressing alarm over reports that the Biden administration may continue the harmful and unnecessary Title 42 expulsion policy for an additional two months. The letter also urged an end to other punitive measures against asylum seekers, including electronic ankle monitors, expedited removal, and expansive detention. The coalition instead proposes community-based case management services to support asylum seekers.
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Coalition Letter Calls for Phase-Out of Detention, Beginning with Ten Facilities

April 2, 2021

The American Immigration Council joined other organizations in calling on President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Secretary Mayorkas to phase-out immigration detention, beginning with the closure of ten specific facilities. The letter urges the Biden administration to release all individuals detained in the facilities without placing them in surveillance programs, and to halt all efforts to expand capacity for the detention of immigrants.
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Letter to DHS: The Critical Need for a Functioning System of Discretionary Release from ICE Detention

March 25, 2021

On March 25, 2021, AILA and the American Immigration Council sent a letter to DHS regarding the need for functioning system of discretionary release within ICE.
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Impacted Individuals Build the Case to End Immigration Detention

March 25, 2021

Immigration detention is traumatic, dangerous, and dehumanizing, and should be replaced with humane, community-based programs for those who need them. Read the words and stories of individuals who have faced or are currently facing the harsh realities of immigration detention.
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Think Immigration Blog: What if I Told You Immigration Detention Was Unnecessary?

March 22, 2021

Deputy Director of the Immigration Justice Campaign Jennie Guilfoyle highlights a recent factsheet affirming the effectiveness and efficiency of alternatives to detention and why the United States needs to phase out immigration detention.
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AILA Policy Brief: Moving the Nation Forward by Leaving Immigration Detention Behind

March 25, 2021

This policy brief, published by AILA on March 25, 2021, highlights the reasons why the Biden administration and Congress should work toward an end to immigration detention, and offers recommendations for how to do so.
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Fact Sheet: Community Support for Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System

February 26, 2021

In a survey of over 300 organizations and affiliate offices, the American Immigration Council and the Women’s Refugee Commission assessed existing capacity to provide services, including legal, medical, social, educational, transportation, and housing to people navigating the immigration system.
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Blog: Making the Case for Ending Immigration Detention

November 11, 2020

Read this American Immigration Council blog on why immigration detention should be phased out and the government should instead rely on the expansive network of non-profit organizations providing medical, legal, and other services to immigrants.
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Map Shows Extensive Network of Organizations Providing Legal, Medical, Social, and Other Services to Immigrants

Click the link above to view a map of the organizations that are providing community-based case management services to immigrants across the U.S. This list is not comprehensive but shows the extensive infrastructure for community-based services available to replace immigration detention.
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The Need for Legal Representation in Immigration Proceedings

Blog: A Federal Defender System for Immigrants Is Long Overdue

February 26, 2021

In fiscal year 2019, a staggering 77% of people with completed immigration court cases did not have lawyers. The need in immigration detention is particularly high—70% of individuals in detention over the past five years have not had lawyers. Read this American Immigration Council blog detailing why the government must provide and fund legal counsel for individuals in immigration proceedings.
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Special Report: Measuring In Absentia Removal in Immigration Court

January 28, 2021

The government has long relied on flawed data to justify immigration detention, arguing that non-detained immigrants often miss immigration court hearings. This ground-breaking report from the American Immigration Council demonstrates that this is not true. A large majority of immigrants do in fact appear at all immigration court hearings – and a staggering 96% of those with attorneys appear at all hearings.
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About Our Model Volunteer Advocacy Get Trained Join

The American Immigration Council warns non-citizens to guard against spoofing phone calls from ill-intended individuals seeking to create panic among our immigrant community. To learn more, please go to

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