ABA Hopes to Visit Hutto; Activists Head to Farmers Branch

“We hope to have a delegation of volunteers to visit Hutto in the very near future,” says Megan H. Mack, Associate Director of the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Immigration (see flyer pasted below).

Mack expressed the hope in a Jan. 17 email forwarded by Jay J. Johnson-Castro.

Although the results of the ABA visit to the T. Don Hutto prison camp for immigrants will be confidentially reported to Immigration and Customs Enfocement (ICE), Johnson-Castro said it will serve notice “that Chertoff & the ICE Company will not forever conduct such immoral and criminal acts in secret.”

In other immigration activism news, Farmers Branch– the Texas city that has passed ordinances naming English the official language and tightening citizenship restrictions on housing–will be getting attention from activists soon. In an updated schedule for a border caravan planned for early February, Johnson-Castro and fellow organizers added a Valentine’s Day stop in Farmers Branch.

Also the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is one group calling for a major march at Farmers Branch on April Fools Day.

Voters in Farmers Branch will be asked to vote on the citizenship-for-housing ordinance on May 12. The law was to go into effect Jan. 12, but has been restrained by court order. The English language resolution was passed during Nov. 2006. *****
flyer from ABA

THE DETENTION STANDARDS IMPLEMENTATION INITIATIVE

WE NEED YOU TO HELP MAKE THIS INITIATIVE A SUCCESS!

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Immigration has undertaken the Detention
Standards Implementation Initiative (Initiative). The Initiative is an innovative national effort by the
organized bar to contribute to the consistent implementation of the Standards which govern legal access issues at all Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE – formerly the Immigration and
Naturalization Service or INS) detention facilities and other facilities detaining immigrants and asylum
seekers. Under the auspices of the Commission on Immigration, Initiative participants will visit and
tour facilities and produce an official report for the ABA to share with ICE, specifically looking at the
implementation of the four legal access standards.

As a result of 1996 immigration law amendments that mandated the detention of certain immigrants
and asylum seekers, ICE now detains more than 200,000 people annually at over 300 sites, the majority of which are county and local jails. Immigration detainees are the fastest growing group of people incarcerated in the United States. In 2006 ICE will receive $3.7 billion for immigration law
enforcement, including detention and removal. The Detention Standards are the result of negotiations
between the ABA, the Department of Justice, the former INS, and other organizations involved in pro
bono representation and advocacy for immigration detainees. The Standards, which took effect in
January 2001, are comprehensive and encompass a range of issues including access to legal services and
materials. The four legal access standards concern visitation, access to legal materials, telephone access,
and group presentations on legal rights.

As a key stakeholder in developing the Standards, the ABA is committed to their full and effective
implementation. In a spirit of cooperation and collaboration with ICE, the ABA’s Commission on
Immigration has launched this special Initiative to visit, tour, and report on observations of the facilities
across the country with a special focus on the four legal access standards. The organized bar is in a
unique position to contribute to ICE’s implementation of the Standards at facilities nationwide.

The ABA’s Commission on Immigration is recruiting lawyers, law firms, and bar associations to
participate on a pro bono basis in special delegations to tour and report on various detention facilities’
implementation of the Standards, with an emphasis on the four legal access standards. Delegation
leaders will be responsible for organizing a team of up to six volunteers for a facility visit and tour;
researching the local detention situation; visiting the detention center; and producing a report on the
delegation’s observations for the ABA for advocacy purposes. The ABA will report back to the
delegation on ICE’s response for appropriate follow-up.

Through participation in the Detention Standards Implementation Initiative, the organized bar and
attorneys can help facilitate access to counsel and fair treatment for detained immigrants and asylum
seekers.

If you, your firm, or your bar association is interested in participating in this Initiative

Please contact Megan Mack at
202-662-1006 or mackm@staff.abanet.org
American Bar Association
Commission on Immigration
740 15th Street NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20005

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