Booker reintroduces bill to curb detention of migrants

Booker reintroduces bill to curb detention of migrants
© Greg Nash

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (D-N.J.) reintroduced legislation Tuesday that would require a bond hearing for all detained immigrants.

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act would also put the burden of proof on the government to prove the need to detain asylum seekers, requiring immigration authorities to provide evidence migrants are dangerous or a flight risk.

Under the bill, the Department of Homeland Security would be required to establish probable cause of removability within 48 hours of detention and would bar the detention of primary caregivers unless the government can prove it is unreasonable to prevent caregivers in community-based supervision.


The legislation would require the detention centers the Department of Homeland Security uses to house migrants to set humane standards and increase oversight, and end use of county jails for detention.

“The high moral cost of our inhumane immigration detention system is reprehensible. The Trump administration’s decision to deny bond hearings for people seeking asylum is just another cruel step in their attacks against asylum seekers and families that will pave the way to more family separation and untenable choices,” Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalWhich proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? Proposals to reform supports for parents face chopping block Democrats see light at end of tunnel on Biden agenda MORE (D-Wash.), who introduced the bill in the House, said in a statement. “Our Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act restores our values as a country by eliminating mandatory detention, protecting vulnerable populations including primary caregivers and asylum-seekers, eliminating the for-profit prison system and ensuring that immigrants are treated with dignity and basic human rights.”

The bill was first introduced in the previous session but was reintroduced in response to Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMeadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ MORE’s order earlier this month stating that migrants who are able to demonstrate a “credible fear” are not eligible to be released on bond. The order invalidates a previous decision allowing asylum seekers to go free on bond while an immigration judge hears their case.

“The fact that Barr wants to strip asylum seekers of their right to due process violates our Constitution and our country’s values,” Booker said. “Our bill will hold the Department of Homeland Security accountable and ensures vulnerable immigrants are treated with the dignity and respect that should be expected in this country.”