July 02, 2019

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bill to Address Conditions in Immigrant Detention Facilities and Protect Children

Washington, D.C. – Following shocking reports of neglect and mistreatment of immigrant children and families, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored legislation to address conditions in immigrant detention facilities. Introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act would prohibit the detention of immigrant children, establish enforceable humane standards for detention facilities, and end the use of private prisons to hold immigrants.

“It’s simply unacceptable that children have died while in the custody of federal agencies since President Trump took office. The current state of detention facilities is a moral stain on our country and puts the United States on the wrong side of history,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “That’s why I’m proud to cosponsor legislation that protects migrants by reforming our detention system, creates a meaningful inspection process so detention sites comply with the government’s own standards, and ensures facilities are held accountable when these tragic deaths occur.”

Full text of the bill is available here.


Specifically, the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act would:

  • Ensure all immigrants receive individualized and fair bond hearings by ending the use of mandatory detention of certain immigrants and requiring DHS to establish probable cause of removability within 48 hours of detention;
  • Prevent the detention of a primary caregiver (and other vulnerable populations, including minors) unless the government can show it is unreasonable or not practicable to place the caregiver in community-based supervision enabling more families to stay together;
  • End the use of private prisons and county jails for immigration detention over a three-year phase-out period;
  • Improve detention standards for detention facilities housing immigrants by requiring DHS to match the civil detention standards set forth by the American Bar Association's Civil Immigration Detention Standards;
  • Require the DHS Office of Inspector General to conduct random spot checks of all immigration detention facilities and stiffen penalties for facilities found to be in violation of DHS' improved civil detention standards;

  • Require DHS to investigate all deaths of immigrants in its custody and issue a public report within 60 days.