DHS- Establish Humane Custody Standards for Migrants in Short Term Detention
We, the undersigned, call on the Department of Homeland Security to establish custody standards and ongoing oversight to ensure the humane treatment of migrants in short term custody of the U.S. Border Patrol while being apprehended in the field, held at processing centers, and repatriated. Every day, hundreds of men, women and minor children are detained and repatriated by U.S. Border Patrol under the Department of Homeland Security with no regard to their basic needs or to the physical and mental state in which they have been encountered. Migrants suffer both negligence and direct mistreatment and abuse. Between 2006-2008, 345 sample cases of these abuses - ranging from denial of water to deporting women and children at night - have been documented by the Tucson-based non-profit organization, No More Deaths, in their report, "Crossing the Line: Human Rights Abuses of Migrants in Short-Term Custody on the Arizona/Sonora Border." Currently there are no uniform regulations for short-term custody (less than 72 hours) and no independent oversight of the treatment of migrants in these facilities along the border. We call for the Department of Homeland Security to implement regulations in their short-term custody processes and facilities which ensure the following: • adequate access to water • adequate access to food • humane and sanitary processing center conditions • upholding due legal process • access to medical treatment • safe transportation • humane repatriation and deportation practices • independent oversight of enforcement We urge you to adopt the full Short-Term Custody Standards drafted by No More Deaths. Please act to ensure that the basic human rights and dignity of apprehended migrants are protected at every stage in which they are in the custody of the U.S. government. Join us! Contact us at: email@example.com *We invite community organizations and religious institutions to write letters of support to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and to their representatives, endorsing Short-Term Custody Standards. Sample letters are available in our Custody Standards Toolkit at http://www.nomoredeaths.org/custodystandards .