Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Call the Senate today!

The Detention Watch Network (DWN) is promoting a national CALL-IN DAY this week about the bad detention provisions in the Senate proposals. Your calls will certainly help. A recent article in New America Media reports that anti-immigrant calls coming in to Senate offices are out-numbering pro-immigrant calls by as much as 20 to 1.

Here's more from the DWN coordinator Andrea Black:

The Senate returned to the immigration debate yesterday. Advocates are working hard to help Senate staffers eliminate the worst enforcement provisions and add as many ameliorative provisions as possible given the current political climate. They are focusing on a manager's amendment and a substitute Title II that encompass a range of "fixes". At the same time, advocates are focusing on several specific amendments including:

Alternatives to detention and detention standards “SECURE AND SAFE DETENTION AND ASYLUM ACT” LIEBERMAN-BROWNBACK AMENDMENT #3253. See attached summary. Talking points on the amendment are available from Rights Working Group: Brownback-Lieberman amendment

The Brownback-Lieberman amendment implements the key recommendations of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which issued a critical report last year describing procedures that impair the right to seek asylum, and also seeks to improves poor conditions that exist at immigration detention facilities generally and promote alternatives to detention. While support is growing for the Brownback-Lieberman amendment, senate staffers are worried that they lack the votes for passage and are asking for help in encouraging Senators to vote in favor of the amendment.

What you can do to help:

DC advocates encourage DWN members to call the following to ask them to support these "fixes":

Your own Senators
Any senators you have developed relationships with
Brownback (R-KS) 202-224-6521 – thank him for his support
Martinez ( R-FL) 202-224-3041
Hagel (R-NE) 202-224-4224
Graham (R-SC) 202-224-5972
Chafee (R-R) 202-224-2921
Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523
Snowe (R-ME) 202-224-5344
DeWine (R-OH) 202-224-2315
Specter (R-PA) 202-224-4254
Voinovich (R-OH) 202-224-3353
Feinstein (D-CA) (202) 224-3841
You can find the phone numbers of your senators here:

Among your possible messages:
1. What stand does the Senator propose to take on the newly re-introduced legislation?

2. Will the Senator vote for the Brownback-Lieberman amendment on alternatives to detention for vulnerable populations?

3. Would the Senator be willing to take a stand on any of the key issues above (indefinite detention, stays of removal, mandatory detention)?

If possible, please update Kerri Sherlock at the Rights Working Group (ksherlock@rightsworkinggroup.org) about the responses you receive so she can coordinate follow up by DC advocates.


More from Paromita Shah of the National Immigration Project:

As a DWN member (not speaking on behalf of DWN), this is what I have said during CALL-IN Day on detention issues:

I want the Senator to strike or modify the extremely bad detention
provisions in the Senate bill. What I want him/her to do is ELIMINATE:
Section 202 relating to indefinite detention
Section 227(c) relating to stays of removal
Section 131 relating to Mandatory Detention
and a provision that allows military bases to be used as detention centers.

If he or she chooses not to strike those provisions, I want him/her to consider amendments to ameliorate the harsh effects of those provisions. It would be best if he or she will consider the fixes outlined in the "substitute Title II" presented to their offices.

I want the Senator to Support Alternatives to detention and detention standards “SECURE AND SAFE DETENTION AND ASYLUM ACT” LIEBERMAN-BROWNBACK AMENDMENT #3253. This amendment creates uniform standards for the treatment of detainees.

I also want the Senator to support a bill that provides relief to child citizens, called the Child Citizen Protection Act (H.R. 5035). This House bill would restore discretion authority to immigration judges to consider the implications of deportation on immigrants' citizen children.


you can tell your Senator that:

"I do not support the Senate Compromise bill, S. 2611, because significant provisions in the current Senate proposals would
dramatically undermine a broad array of rights, increase the criminalization of all immigrants, result in mass deportations, and unfairly exclude millions from eligibility for any legalization opportunity."

You can get learn more about this position at