Democrats Push To Shield LGBT Illegal Immigrants From Detention

A group of Democratic lawmakers has introduced the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, a bill to reform immigration detention policies by providing special protections for specific categories of illegal immigrants. The bill’s sponsors, Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Adam Smith (D-WA) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), assert that their proposed legislation will bring “humanity and dignity” to the immigration system.

According to Fox News, the bill seeks to prevent Border Patrol agents from detaining specific “vulnerable populations.” These include illegal aliens who identify as LGBT or fall into other protected classes, such as individuals under 21 or over 60, pregnant women, asylum seekers, and those with limited English language proficiency.

Under the new legislation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would have 48 hours to detain arrested illegal aliens or release them on bond. In addition, a “special rule for vulnerable persons and primary caregivers” would mandate DHS to release protected illegal immigrants, barring detention unless it can be demonstrated that it is “unreasonable or not practicable to place the alien in a community-based supervision program.”

The bill would require DHS to decide within 48 hours whether to detain an alien and only allow detention if it can be proven that “the release of an alien will not reasonably ensure the appearance of the alien as required or will endanger the safety” of others. In such cases, the least restrictive conditions would be imposed, and a custody hearing would be held within 72 hours, during which “there shall be a presumption that the alien should be released.”

Jayapal stated that the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act would “go a long way to restore humanity and dignity to the immigration system” by addressing the injustices of the current detention system. The bill proposes ending private detention facilities, repealing mandatory detention, and prohibiting family detention while increasing oversight, accountability, and transparency measures.

Booker echoed Jayapal’s sentiments: “Our immigration system has allowed for the unjust treatment of immigrants and stripped them of their humanity and due process. We must respect and protect the basic rights of immigrants detained in the United States.”

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act has been co-sponsored by dozens of House Democrats and seven Senate Democrats. Critics argue that providing special protections to certain groups of illegal immigrants could encourage more people to attempt illegal entry into the United States.