A new bill introduced by Democrats in the House and Senate this week would restrict the ability to hold illegal immigrants in custody if they are a “vulnerable person,” which includes those who are homosexual or transgender, or who don’t speak English.
The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), was introduced with the goal of setting minimum standards for detention facilities where thousands of illegal immigrants are detained as they await processing. Part of the legislation would bar the use of private detention facilities and ensure government-run facilities meet minimum standards as defined by the American Bar Association.
“Under the legislation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could arrest illegal aliens and either release them on bond or detain them while a decision is made on whether to remove them from the country. The bill sets out new rules on detention that favor aliens,” Fox News reported. “For example, officials would have to decide within 48 hours whether to detain an alien, and could only detain them after a determination that ‘the release of an alien will not reasonably ensure the appearance of the alien as required or will endanger the safety’ of others. In those cases, DHS ‘shall impose the least restrictive conditions” for detention, and ensure they get a custody hearing within 72 hours. And in those hearings, “there shall be a presumption that the alien should be released,’ the bill said.”
“But the bill goes further by seeking to exempt several groups of illegal aliens from any detention at all. It creates a ‘special rule for vulnerable persons and primary caregivers,’ and says these aliens ‘may not be detained’ unless DHS can demonstrate that it is ‘unreasonable or not practicable to place the alien in a community-based supervision program,’” Fox News added. “Under the bill, ‘vulnerable person’ is defined as anyone who is under 21 or older than 60, pregnant, or who ‘identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex.’ Other vulnerable aliens are those who are a victim of or witness to a crime, anyone who has filed a nonfrivolous civil rights claim in court, anyone with a workplace claim, and those with a ‘serious mental or physical illness or disability.’”