Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Lieberman-Brownback Amendment

Pro-immigrant advocates are working hard in Washington to get amendments added to the legislation in order to ameliorate it as much as possible.

From Kerri Sherlock of the Rights Working Group:
Thanks to the hard work of many advocates we have great news. The asylum detention amendment was filed last night by Senator Lieberman and Senator Brownback has agreed to cosponsor. Advocates suggest that if you can reach out to other Senators to garner support for the amendment that would be helpful.

The Lieberman--Brownback amendment closely tracks the key recommendations of the bipartisan US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which issued a critical report last year on the disturbing treatment of asylum seekers held in detention. All of the provisions in the amendment would benefit asylum seekers, but several would benefit other immigration detainees as well. The amendment expands the affected population for two reasons: 1) in many cases, the procedures, policies and conditions that need to be improved harm different populations at the same time and in the same way; 2) as a result of new DHS policies, and provisions in both Senate bills, the population of non-criminal aliens being detained with criminals in maximum security facilities will increase rapidly.

Sections of the Amendment
  • Recording interviews ensures persecuted aliens aren't turned back
  • Mandating hearings on release determinations prevents unjust detentions
  • Legal Orientation Programs improve aliens' understanding and reduces costs
  • Provide humane treatment for all and tailored standards for non-criminals
  • An Office of Detention Oversight will facilitate meaningful supervision
  • Rely more on humane alternatives to prisons and jails

ACTION STEP: Today call your Senator and ask him/her to support this important amendment. Call the Senate switchboard at