Last week, dozens of Democrats in the House and Senate reportedly presented legislation that would make it more difficult to detain illegal immigrants if they fit the bill’s description of a “vulnerable person,” such as someone who is homosexual, lesbian, transgender, doesn’t speak English, or fits other criteria.
The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, aims to establish basic requirements for the detention centers where thousands of illegal immigrants are housed while they await processing.
It would prohibit the use of private detention facilities and ensure that government-run institutions adhere to certain standards set out by the American Bar Association, among other things.
According to the law, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could hold illegal immigrants while deciding whether to remove them from the country or release them on bail. The measure establishes new, favorable detention regulations.
The law goes a step further by attempting to completely excluding a number of groups of unauthorized immigrants from any form of incarceration, including those who identify as ‘LGBT’ who are considered ‘vulnerable persons.’
Even if DHS is successful in detaining vulnerable immigrants despite this additional barrier, it is still required to perform fresh custody determination hearings every 60 days or whenever new information becomes available.
Democrats who backed the law claimed it was necessary to restore the dignity of immigrants who had been detained after attempting to enter the country.
Several House Democrats, including House Majority Whip Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, and a few Senate Democrats are behind the bill.