Under a newly reintroduced Democrat-led bill, “vulnerable persons” such as LGBTQ youth, may no longer be detained at the US-Mexico border.
The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act was recently reintroduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
The act stipulates those who are considered a “vulnerable person.”
This list includes (but is not limited to) caregivers, individuals under 21 years of age or over the age of 60 years, pregnant women and individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex.
The bill would “create a presumption of release and impose a higher burden of proof to detain primary caregivers and vulnerable populations, including asylum seekers, pregnant women, LGBTQ individuals, survivors of torture or gender-based violence, and people under age 21.”
It would also require privately owned detention facilities to “phase out the use of private detention facilities and jails over a three-year period.”
In addition, no one under the age of 18 could be detained at any facility operated or controlled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The bill would hold higher standards for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including unannounced inspections, with “meaningful penalties” for violations.
According to Fox News, “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 favors aliens.
The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act mandates a 48-hour safety assessment for detainees. The proposed act also ensures a custody hearing within the first 72 hours with the “presumption that the alien should be released.”
The bill also establishes a special rule for vulnerable persons and primary caregivers, who may only be detained if it is not practical to place them in a community-based supervision program, Fox News reports.
The bill was reintroduced by U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and U.S. Representative Adam Smith (WA-09).
It was also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Peter Welch (D-VT).
The bill was reintroduced as border states brace for an expected unprecedented surge of illegal immigration as Trump-era policy Title 42 ends on May 11th.
Introduced in 2020, Title 42 has blocked 2.5 million border crossings by turning away migrants attempting to enter the US.
The policy states that it will end when the public health emergency is over or when the CDC Director determines further introduction of COVID-19 has declined and it is no longer necessary to protect public health.
In the past, the Biden admin temporarily lifted Title 42 through a CDC order. Several Republican states unsuccessfully sued to keep the policy in place. But, as of now, it is still scheduled to end on May 11th, 2023.
This coincides the current administration ending all other existing COVID-19 restrictions.
The Biden administration is set to announce a new border security plan next week, headed by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Mayorkas testified in front of the House Homeland Security Committee just this past Wednesday.
This plan for the 2024 fiscal year, according to Mayorkas, includes hiring over 1,400 additional personnel to secure the Southwest border. It also includes 350 additional border patrol agents and 310 border patrol processing coordinators. The objective is to get “more agents back into the field performing their critical law enforcement mission.”
“The budget proposes $535 million in new funds for border technology, $305 million of which is to deploy new technologies and capabilities in our fight against the trafficking of fentanyl through our ports of entry,” Mayorkas said.
Mayorka’s testimony from Wednesday can be viewed in its entirety here