Call to Action





Background Information

Current immigration policy is detrimental to the survival of people forced to work undocumented in this country due to the devastating impacts of global neo-liberal economic policies. With only slight changes made, Senate Democrats, who far outnumber Republicans Lees, Tisei, Tarr, et al, showed themselves again willing to join in violations of human rights.

Like other such laws and policies, these amendments appear intended for repressive use and will likely lead to an increased rate of immigrant detention/imprisonment. Manufactured overcrowding fueling current jail and prison expansion can be traced to a multiplicity of causes (more on that in a future communiqué), however, INS/BICE detention is the "fastest growing prison program in the U.S."



Overcrowding is a rationale commonly used by those in the punishment industry, in combination with manufactured hysteria about "dangerous criminals". Overcrowding is caused by laws and policies. For example, when the new Chicopee women’s jail was proposed, sweeps of sex workers in the Springfield area increased.

The failed "War on Drugs" and "War on Terror", joined by an escalating "War on Immigrants" are creating a synergy, a situation whereby each gains momentum from the existence of the other. We've got to step up our fight NOW to have a chance to head this off.  

Please act Now! Tell your legislators to oppose these amendments AND jail and prison expansion.

For Peace and Justice,


For more information contact:
Holly Richardson

Background Information

"Aliens", lawful permanent residents (LPRs), refugees, asylum seekers, and visa holders with valid immigration status are in detention. (reported in the June 29, 2005, National Lawyers Guild report "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor... : A Report on Due Process Issues in the Handling of Immigration Detainees in Massachusetts."


The average time in the United States prior to detention was just over 10 years. (NLG report)

On January 24, 2006 a $385,000/6,700 'bed' contract was awarded to Halliburton subsidiary KBR to provide for "establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."


On May 19th, AP 'journalist' Lara Jakes Jordan reported that Homeland Security seeks funding for "nearly 35,000 more jail beds to end a much-criticized "catch and release" program for dangerous illegal immigrants in the United States."


While it is difficult to calculate how many detentions/deportations are due to non-violent crime charges or convictions, "because some of the records simply stated "criminal conviction" as the grounds for deportation. A conservative estimate is that the majority of cases involved some sort of non-violent crime conviction because violent crime convictions are usually treated by the court in a serious manner, which would be easy to note by a [NLG] court observer." (NLG report)

On May 2nd, 2006, Middlesex County Sheriff DiPaola testified at annual capital spending hearings on Beacon Hill that his department has talked with the state Division of Capital Asset Management about building a jail. DiPaola asked lawmakers to consider a $63 million request to lease "podular" housing units for three years, to be placed at the Billerica House of Correction, while a permanent site for a new jail is being sought. (Information reported by the Boston Globe and State House News Wire, and by the Sheriff in a May 24th State House briefing for Middlesex legislators.) For more on jails in Somerville, The Bridge, www.bridgenews.org, June 2006.

Detention Centers where Boston Immigration Court can order detainees held – Boston, Greenfield, Dedham, North Dartmouth, Plymouth, Brentwood NH, Goffstown NH, Dover NH, Central Falls RI, Newton CT, Hartford CT, Somers CT, Niantic CT. (NLG report)

The Chicopee Women's Jail will lease 115 beds to the feds for the detention of immigrants.

As well, anecdotal information from eyewitness reports back up claims of increased law enforcement sweeps and a concurrent rise in numbers of immigrant detainees.


     Last Updated on Wednesday July 25, 2007.