Dozens of Democrats in the House and Senate introduced legislation this week that would make it harder to hold illegal aliens in custody if they qualify as a “vulnerable person,” such as those who are gay, lesbian or transgender, who don’t speak English, or who meet other definitions of the term under the bill.
The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is aimed at setting minimum standards for detention facilities where thousands of illegal aliens are kept as they await processing…”Our immigration system has allowed for the unjust treatment of immigrants and stripped them of their humanity and due process,” Booker said in a Thursday statement. “We must respect and protect the basic rights of immigrants detained in the United States.”
The bill sets out new rules on detention that favor aliens. For example, officials would have to decide within 48 hours whether to detain an alien, and could only detain them after a determination that “the release of an alien will not reasonably ensure the appearance of the alien as required or will endanger the safety” of others. In those cases, DHS “shall impose the least restrictive conditions” for detention, and ensure they get a custody hearing within 72 hours. And in those hearings, “there shall be a presumption that the alien should be released,” the bill said.
But the bill goes further by seeking to exempt several groups of illegal aliens from any detention at all. It creates a “special rule for vulnerable persons and primary caregivers,” and says these aliens “may not be detained…” Under the bill, “vulnerable person” is defined as anyone who is under 21 or older than 60, pregnant, or who “identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex…” Aliens with a credible fear of persecution, “limited English language proficiency,” those experiencing “severe trauma,” and survivors of “torture or gender-based violence” also meet the definition of a “vulnerable person” for which DHS must take extra steps before detaining…