On February 22, 2010, the United States immigration enforcement agency (ICE) wrote to Human Rights Watch, announcing the agency's intention to "minimize the number of detainee transfers to the greatest extent possible." This important commitment came after the publication of our report, "Locked Up Far Away," and consultations between ICE, Human Rights Watch, and other nongovernmental organizations.
"Locked Up Far Away" raised serious concerns about ICE's policy of transferring large numbers of immigrant detainees to facilities far from where they lived. The transfers impede and sometimes completely bar detainees from getting access to an attorney; interfere with detainees' ability to present key witnesses and evidence in immigration court; and sometimes completely alter the law applied to their removal or asylum case. Read the summary and full set of recommendations from the report at http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/12/02/locked-far-away-0.
In light of the 1.6 million detainee transfers that have occurred between 1997 and 2006, and the fact that in 2008, a majority of detainees were transferred two or more times, Human Rights Watch considers ICE's stated intention to address this serious problem a positive step.