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Transfer Of Immigrants In Detention On The Rise

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On any given day, there are about 37,000 immigrants in detention throughout the U.S. Before they get deported, many are often transferred to remote jails.

— According to a new report by the international non-profit, Human Rights Watch, the transfer of immigrant detainees can violate their rights to fair treatment in court and extend their time in detention. The report says this practice of transferring immigrants from one detention center to another denies them access to attorneys, witnesses, and evidence they need to defend against deportation.

"Immigrants are entitled to a fair day in court," said U.S. program director Alison Parker. "When they're separated from the attorneys that represent them and the witnesses and evidence that they need to present in court, they're done a huge disservice and their rights are being violated."

By analyzing records over 12 years, Human Rights Watch found that almost half of detainees were moved around two or more times. Parker said the growing number of immigrant detentions across border states has contributed to this issue.

"It's happening in such a scale with the majority of immigrant detainees transferred, and in fact, 46 percent of people are being transferred twice or more," said Parker. "It's such a widespread problem that the rights violations are very serious.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has made some improvements to detention guidelines in recent years, but has done little to reduce the number of transfers.

In the last 12 years, ICE has carried out 2 million transfers involving 1 million immigrants at a cost of $366 million.

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