“In the criminal justice system, anyone arrested is assumed innocent, but in the immigration system, they’re put in detention, and then it’s the individual’s burden to prove they shouldn’t be detained,” Sarnata Reynolds told the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s why you’ll see long periods of detention, because it’s an incredibly high burden.”
Reynolds is one of the authors of yet another report that is highly critical of the detention conditions people –both immigrants and wrongfully-detained American citizens– are subject to when held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The report, Jailed Without Justice: Immigration Detention in the USA, published Wednesday by Amnesty International, adds to other dismal appraisals published in recent weeks. Anticipating its publication, an ICE special advisor on detention said it would be taken into account, and acknowledged the need to change the detention system.
The Chronicle’s Tyche Hendricks writes about the cases of two American citizens from the Bay Area, one born in Thailand, the other from Afghanistan, who were taken into custody by ICE in 2007.
Though the men told immigration officials of their citizenship, neither had papers to prove it, and both languished in immigration custody in Santa Clara County jail –Nasir for 11 months, Simma for seven– before a lawyer finally secured their release.