Keep Migrants Out of Detention

(New York, November 3, 2021) – Pilot programs testing alternatives to immigration detention in several countries, including the United States, offer governments models for more humane and rights-respecting approaches, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. 

The 94-page report “Dismantling Detention: International Alternatives to Detaining Immigrants,” examines alternatives to detention in six countries: BulgariaCyprusSpain, the United KingdomCanada, and the United States. Human Rights Watch found that alternatives to detention such as case management services, can effectively address government interests in immigration enforcement while protecting migrants’ rights and often offering a range of other benefits. 

Transcript

The US spends an average of $142 a day to keep one migrant in detention.

But it could cost less than $40 a day to enroll a whole family in a rights-promoting case management program. 

A program in Spain offers apartments, food, case workers, legal assistance, cultural integration and language classes. 

These services place basic needs and dignity at the forefront of immigration policy. 

Pilot programs in Bulgaria, Poland and Cyprus offer social support and legal consults. 

And 86 percent of participants kept up with the immigration process. 

99 percent of people in a US case management program showed up for court. 

But President Donald Trump ended the program in 2017.   

There are effective and humane ways to make sure people attend legal proceedings without locking them up. 

Keep migrants out of detention.