Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, introduced a bill that would require immigration detention centers to inform immigrant detainees of their legal rights within five days of their arrival at facilities.
The bill would also require the U.S. Attorney General to develop and implement legal orientation programs in every detention center that houses immigrants. Foster introduced the H.R. 1045 with Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, according to a news release.
“It is unacceptable that immigrants are placed into detention with no information about their legal rights or an understanding of how immigration courts work,” Foster said. “America has always stood for the principle of due process for all people, but our immigrant detention system isn’t meeting that standard. This legislation would not only help make sure immigrants know their rights, but it would make the entire process more efficient and fairer so that it reflects the values of our nation.”
In addition, studies show it would also save taxpayer money. The American Immigration Lawyers Association said for every $2 million the government invests in legal orientation programs, it saves $20 million because of the expedited court proceedings and better coordination of legal services.
“How is it that our country guarantees immigrants certain rights, but then detention facilities can turn around and deny them any information of those rights?” Deutch said.
The National Immigrant Justice Center and Heartland Alliance support the bill. A copy of the bill can be found on Foster’s website.