Obama Administration Includes Arbitrary Number of Detention Beds in FY 2015 Budget

Detention Watch Network Urges Congress to End the Quota and Reduce Wasteful Spending on the Incarceration of Immigrants

(Washington, D.C.) March 5, 2014 — Yesterday the Obama Administration released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security. The proposal includes $ 1.8 billion for detention and maintains funding for 30,539 beds. In response to release of the FY 2015 budget proposal, Silky Shah, Interim Executive Director of Detention Watch Network (DWN) states:

“DWN is disappointed to learn that the Obama administration continues to prioritize the mass detention and deportation of immigrants. The request to fund an arbitrary and predetermined number of detention beds underscores the use of a quota and is an obstacle toward true reform of a detention system that is rife with abuse.  While the Administration reduced the number of detention beds from its FY 2014 budget request, it is disappointing that President Obama has continued to fulfill the detention bed quota.  DWN calls upon Congress to eliminate the detention bed quota for FY 2015.

DWN notes that the President’s budget also requests $94.1 million in funding for Alternatives to Detention. However, it is currently unclear whether the expanded funding for Alternatives to Detention would reduce the detention population, which should be a priority.”


The Detention Watch Network works through the collective strength and diversity of its members to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons.



Washington, D.C., February 4, 2011—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urges the United States to suspend deportations to Haiti of persons of Haitian origin who are seriously ill or who have family members in the United States.

Following the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, the U.S. government suspended the deportation of Haitians with criminal convictions or charges. According to information the Commission has received, the government announced on December 9, 2010, that it would lift the moratorium on deportations, and the media reported that deportations of Haitians with criminal records resumed on January 20, 2011.

The deportation of seriously ill persons to Haiti could jeopardize their lives, considering the humanitarian crisis that persists in the country, especially the detention conditions in jails and prisons. According to the information received by the Commission, detention centers in Haiti are overcrowded, and the lack of drinking water and adequate sanitation or toilets could facilitate the transmission of cholera, tuberculosis, and other diseases. The IACHR is also concerned that once they arrive in Haiti, seriously ill persons could remain in detention without access to food, drinking water, and adequate medical treatment. Along these lines, U.S. immigrant advocacy organizations informed the Commission that a person of Haitian origin deported on January 20, 2011, has died in a Haitian prison for reasons that have not yet been officially established, after showing symptoms of cholera. In addition, the Inter-American Commission has received troubling information regarding persons being processed for deportation who have immediate family members, even children, in the United States and who in some cases do not have any family members in Haiti.

Read the rest of this entry »

Detention Chaplain position opening

The Religious Services Specialist provides spiritual and pastoral care to all detainees and also facilitates their opportunity to pursue their individual religious beliefs and practices in accordance with current law, Federal regulations, and the DHS Detention Standards.  The Religious Services Specialist primary duty is to provide counseling, spiritual direction, support and crisis intervention to the detainees.  The Religious Services Specialist role is to be a non-judgmental caring influence in the lives of all individuals, a visible model of respect and caring for each person in spiritual need.  Presence is the vital aspect of the Religious Services Specialist’s ministry throughout the facility.

For more information, please visit the announcement on the Church World Services website.

This position is located at the Krome Service Processing Center.  The Religious Services Specialist operates under the general direction of the Religious Services Coordinator.  The Religious Services Coordinator is responsible for implementing a multifaceted religious service program designed to serve a diverse religious, cultural, educational, and social population.  The Religious Services Specialist assists the Religious Services Coordinator in planning, directing, and supervising all aspects of the religious program and oversees the general running of the facility’s religious services program.

Detained student released, thousands more students face deportation

Change.org reports good news:

Immigrant rights advocates across the country were not about to let Fredd, a talented young singer and actor, spend Thanksgiving in detention. With over 3500 emails in support of Fredd Reyes pouring in from all over the country, ICE relented and released him a few minutes before the North Carolina DREAM Team held a press conference on his behalf.

Thousands more students in similar situations face deportation. Read more here.

Student Locked Up for Spending 22 Years in the United States

Change.org reports that

On a September morning, just before dawn, ICE came knocking on Fredd Reyes’ door. It was 5 am and Fredd was asleep after a long night of studying for his exam at Guilford Technical Community College that very same day. Instead of taking his exam, Fredd was rudely awakened from his sleep, handcuffed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and taken from his North Carolina home to North Georgia Detention Center.

Read more here.

Online retreat will mark 30 years of Jesuit Refugee Service

Online Retreat

This November 14th we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Jesuit Refugee Service. We recall fondly Father Pedro Arrupe’s sound advice to “pray, pray much” as he encouraged the struggling first generation of JRS team members in Southeast Asia to bring the overwhelming challenges of their new apostolic work to the Lord in prayer.

Three decades later, we once again invite our JRS family — current and former staff members, Jesuits, friends and colleagues—to reflect prayerfully on the ways in which we discover the presence of God in our ministry with refugees and displaced persons.

In honor of our 30th anniversary, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is introducing a free 30-day online retreat that links Ignatian Spirituality to the plight of refugees and vulnerable migrants.  It’s an easy way for people to fuse spirituality and social justice into your day .

The retreat will go live on November 1, and will be prominently linked on our home page.

The retreat links the Spiritual Exercises to the plight of refugees and vulnerable migrants and provides an easy way for people to fuse spirituality and social justice into their days.

Visit our new website

(Washington, D.C.) Oct. 1, 2010 – After nearly 12 months of planning and work, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is happy to announce the launch of our new website. In November 2009, JRS communications leaders from the International office, the U.S. office and the Eastern Africa office began collaborating with Omaha-based Adventure Studios to design and build the website.

This new website is designed to present information in a clear way with easy navigation, while highlighting the accompaniment, service and advocacy JRS undertakes worldwide with and on behalf of refugees and forcibly displaced people.