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Cruel by Design: Voices of Resistance from Immigration Detention

February 9, 2022

This report shows how the harms associated with ICE detention practices are embedded in the structures of the immigration control regime rather than a manifestation of a broken system. In doing so, it offers a summary of U.S. detention laws to illustrate how the system is designed to make it as easy as possible for the federal government to exclude and deport people. It also shows how the detention system deploys multiple tactics to undermine the ability of individuals to fight deportation. In addition, the report highlights the stories of people who've been held in ICE detention, and their resistance and resilience in the face of a draconian system.Piecemeal reforms alone will not be sufficient for remedying the cruelty of this system. What is ultimately required is far-reaching transformation, one aimed at ending detention as a tool of the U.S. regime of exclusion.

Immigration Cyber Prisons: Ending the Use of Electronic Ankle Shackles

July 12, 2021

This report highlights how the federal government's use of electronic ankle "monitoring," or shackling, subjects immigrants to many of the same harms as incarceration and is experienced as another form of detention. It leverages surveys of approximately 150 immigrants subject to shackling, data from immigration legal service providers related to nearly 1,000 cases, and qualitative interviews with immigrants subject to shackling. The result is the first empirical study to document the nature and scale of the harms, racial disparities and lack of efficacy of ICE's massive electronic shackling program.The report finds that immigrants subject to shackling by ICE endure many of the same devastating impacts on their physical and mental health that are experienced in physical prisons. Shackling also leads to other degrading harms associated with the invisible cell walls of shackles, including social isolation and employer discrimination, and these effects ripple through families and entire communities. Moreover, just as Black immigrants are subject to higher rates of abuse throughout the rest of the immigration detention system, Black immigrants are disproportionately subject to shackling by ICE.The report concludes that the Biden-Harris administration should begin to wind down shackling, and the immigration detention system as a whole, in favor of community support programming. Congress is currently in the process of markups on the fiscal year 2022 budget appropriations bills, the drafts of which include renewed funding for ICE detention beds and shackles at roughly equal rates to the 2021 budget.

The Courthouse Trap: How ICE Operations Impacted New York’s Courts in 2018

January 29, 2019

The Immigrant Defense Project closely monitors ICE activity at state courthouses in New York and around the country. Under the Trump administration, we have documented an alarming 1700% increase in ICE arrests and attempted arrests across New York State. The consequent threats to universal access to justice and to public safety are tremendous, as immigrant communities become too afraid to seek justice in criminal, family, and civil courts.

Insecure Communities, Devastated Families: New Data on Immigrant Detention and Deportation Practices in New York City?

July 23, 2012

New York City is home to over three million foreign-born residents. Yet, immigrant New Yorkers have been forced to struggle with the harsh realities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") operations in their city for years -- families broken apart by midnight raids, parents of U.S. citizen children sent to far-away detention facilities in Texas and Louisiana and held without bond, immigrants arrested after a "stop-and-frisk" encounter with the NYPD, only to find themselves thrown into a pipeline that sends thousands of New Yorkers from Rikers Island to ICE detention every year. However, even as advocates, the City Council, and other city stakeholders debate how to limit the damage that ICE policies inflict on New York and the city's large immigrant community, there has been little data on what exactly happens to immigrant New Yorkers who are apprehended by ICE, and the extent of the agency's enforcement operations in the city.In response to this urgent need for information, the community groups Families for Freedom and the Immigrant Defense Project filed a request for information with ICE under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"). The agency initially did not comply with the request, instead stating that the organizations needed to pay over $1.3 million in fees to secure the necessary documents. The organizations filed a lawsuit in federal district court against ICE, and the case was settled in May of 2011. As a condition of the settlement, ICE provided data to the Vera Institute for Justice, for use in conjunction with immigration court data for a wide-ranging study on immigrant New Yorkers' access to counsel. That study was released in early 2012. ICE also provided a spreadsheet of data on every individual apprehended by the New York City Field Office from October 2005 through December 2010. Nineteen distinct data fields were included for each individual apprehended, and that never before released data is the subject of this report.The data provided by ICE, as a condition of the settlement of the lawsuit, is significant in two key ways. First, it allowed researchers at the Vera Institute to accurately assess the impact of detention and, in particular, ICE's transfer policy, on the issues that face immigrant New Yorkers in immigration court, such as access to legal counsel and the availability of relief from deportation. Second, the spreadsheet provided by ICE that is the basis of this report provides hard evidence of the effects of immigration detention and deportation on New York City communities. For example, there had previously been no way for local leaders and community members to assess how many individuals of a certain nationality were detained by ICE in New York or how many individuals in a given New York City zip code or neighborhood were detained. Likewise, there was no way for them to know how many parents of U.S. citizen children were swept into the system. Other issues, like the frequency of bond settings for New Yorkers and ICE transfers of New Yorkers to far-away detention facilities, remained equally murky. However, while the data is in many respects new, it only confirms what groups like Families for Freedom and the Immigrant Defense Project have known for years: that ICE enforcement in New York City is terrorizing the city's immigrant community.

The All-in-One Guide to Defeating Ice Hold Requests (a.k.a.Immigration Detainers)

April 9, 2012

This toolkit is designed to help communities prevent deportations by keeping local police separate from immigration enforcement. The essential link between police and ICE is the ICE hold request, also known as an immigration detainer. On the basis of ICE hold requests, state and local police hold people in jail longer in order to hand them over to ICE. Without police departments willing to submit to ICE hold requests, ICE would not be able to apprehend and deport so many people. Even if Secure Communities, 287(g) and the Criminal Alien Program continue to operate, they are only as effective as ICE hold requests allow them to be. The hold request is what actually allows ICE to apprehend and deport people. Several communities have succeeded in enacting policies to stop submitting to ICE hold requests, and this toolkit is designed to help other communities establish similar policies.

Deportación 101 Manual: Un manual educativo para aprender acerca de la deportación y como organizarse para prevenirla

December 1, 2010

Un manual educativo para aprender acerca de la deportación y como organizarse para prevenirla.

Deportation 101: A Community Resource on Anti-Deportation Education and Organizing

October 1, 2010

The Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) and Families for Freedom (FFF) originally developed the Deportation 101 curriculum in 2005. In 2007, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and Detention Watch Network began collaborating with IDP and FFF to create an expanded curriculum and to present additional trainings.Together, the Deportation 101 team has partnered with community-based groups to train directly affected people, organizers, and service providers in various parts of the country, including Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.