STATEMENT BY CAIR COALITION ON THE CLOSING OF IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTERS IN MARYLAND

Dec 09, 2021

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 9, 2021) - The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition stands in solidarity and celebration with each and every person who has fought for the passage of the Dignity Not Detention Act. On December 7, 2021, the Maryland General Assembly successfully overrode Governor Hogan’s veto of the Dignity Not Detention (DND) Act, which passed in spring 2021. This act requires localities to end all ICE Intergovernmental Service Agreements in Maryland by October 1, 2022, so that local jails can no longer serve as immigration detention centers. 

As we celebrate this momentous win, it is important to keep in mind that, even when these detention centers close, ICE can still continue to arrest Maryland residents and send them to immigration detention centers in other states.  We will continue to advocate for people, regardless of detention location.  Additionally, the bill does not end detention by local ICE field offices or any future facilities operated by the federal government, nor does it prohibit the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP), which currently runs removal proceedings against people in state criminal custody.

CAIR Coalition has been planning for the potential closure of ICE facilities in Maryland  for over a year, to ensure that we remain well-positioned to continue to advocate for Marylanders at risk of detention and deportation. Today, we are one step closer to a future where immigration detention does not exist, where people are welcomed with compassion, safety, and dignity. This is proof that real, fundamental change is possible. 

“The passage of DND into law is an opportunity for ICE to release people from detention, to allow them to return home to their loved ones, rather than transfer people to places where their families and communities cannot reach or support them,” says Eric Lopez, managing attorney with CAIR Coalition’s Maryland Universal Representation team. “It is up to ICE to not abuse this opportunity, and on us – the community – to hold them accountable.”

We are deeply grateful to CASA for their leadership in seeking this result, as well as many other groups, including MDAiD, Jews United for Justice, and Sanctuary DMV. We acknowledge the bravery of formerly detained individuals, their families, and other directly impacted people who spoke out in support of this legislation. We celebrate every person who fought, advocated, testified, and worked tirelessly to make this happen. Together, we continue onward.

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CONTACT:

Bryn Cavin, CAIR Coalition, (202) 916-8191, media@caircoalition.org

The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition strives to ensure equal justice for all immigrant adults and children at risk of detention and deportation in the Capital area and beyond through direct legal representation, know your rights presentations, impact litigation, advocacy, and the enlistment and training of attorneys to defend immigrants. More information can be found at www.caircoalition.org.