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ACLU criticizes Georgia immigration detention centers

Illegal immigrants [JURIST backgrounder] face constitutional and human rights violations in Georgia detention centers, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLUGA) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF; press release] Wednesday. The ACLUGA concluded that the suspected illegal immigrants live in squalor conditions, without access to appropriate medical care. It also documented overwhelming reports of due process rights being denied.

Violations include coercion by immigration judges and deportation officers to get detainees to sign stipulated orders of removal, overburdened court dockets, delays in the removal process, failure to provide pro bono representation information, and lack of adequate language access for non-English speaking detainees.
The report recommended a myriad of changes to remedy the situation, including no longer using two of the four detention centers in Georgia. It suggested that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] must push for stronger oversight of such facilities and end mandatory detention of suspected illegal immigrants.

The US government has faced criticism over the immigrant detention system. In September the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that immigrants who are imprisoned while fighting deportation cannot be held indefinitely [JURIST report] without a bail hearing and that the government must justify the need for the prolonged detention. Last year the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) [official website] released a report detailing investigations into immigrant detention centers [JURIST report]. The report expressed concern over increased use of detention by the US government, citing a doubling in detention of non-citizens by ICE. It criticized the US government for viewing detention as a necessity and not as an exception in its enforcement. The IACHR also found the average 30-day detentions troubling, arguing that it is likely to increase as backlogs of immigration cases increase. The number of immigration cases pending is expected to rise in light of the numerous state laws that have been enacted to address the issue of immigration.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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