NEW ORLEANS – Following reports that many of the immigrants detained after last week’s ICE raids in Mississippi will be held in Louisiana private prisons, the ACLU of Louisiana issued the following statement:
“Louisiana is fast becoming the epicenter of the Trump administration’s dangerous mass deportation and detention agenda,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “Louisiana taxpayers should not be subsidizing the forcible separation of children from their families or the mass detention of immigrants in brutal and dehumanizing conditions. State and local officials have a responsibility to stand up to these abuses and refuse to cooperate with the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.”
Over the past several months there has been an unprecedented expansion of immigrant detention in Louisiana. The number of facilities has grown from 2 in 2018 to 11 as of July 2019, as ICE is breaking records for the number of immigrants it’s detaining. Many of these immigrants and asylum seekers are being held in private, for-profit prisons or in local jails with a history of abysmal medical care and extreme brutality. Immigrants at at least two facilities have been pepper-sprayed after protesting inhumane conditions.
In May 2019, the ACLU of Louisiana and the Southern Poverty Law Center sued the Trump administration for categorically denying release to hundreds of people who are languishing in immigration prisons after lawfully seeking asylum in the United States. The suit was filed on behalf of 12 named plaintiffs who, like hundreds of other migrants, sought asylum at official U.S. points of entry in compliance with federal law and then were confined and sent to remote prisons in Louisiana and Alabama.
The ACLU is also continuing to pressure Congress to press the Trump administration to stop detaining people at these unprecedented levels, while discouraging local officials from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.