May 25, 2018
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BRIEFING – Tuesday, June 2, 8:45 a.m.


CONTACT: Brenda Bowser Soder, 202-370-3323



New York City – Five days after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was confirmed, she appointed Dr. Dora Schriro as a special advisor to review of the flawed U.S. immigration detention system. It is expected that Dr. Schriro will soon present her recommendations to Secretary Napolitano. In anticipation of that report, Human Rights First (HRF) will hold an open briefing at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, to discuss the nation’s current system and outline a series of recommendations necessary to protect the legal and human rights of those asylum seekers held by the U.S.


Since 2003, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has spent more than $300 million to detain more than 48,000 asylum seekers in U.S. prisons and prison-like facilities, according to a new HRF report, U.S. Detention of Asylum Seekers:  Seeking Protection, Finding Prison.  According to the organization, the detention of asylum seekers in penal conditions and without basic safeguards is inconsistent with America’s longstanding commitment to protect those who flee from persecution. To address this concern, HRF has outlined a series of key reforms that serve as a roadmap to restoring human rights protections and fairness – such as providing immigration court review of decisions to continue to detain an asylum seeker and ending the use of prison-like facilities currently used to detain asylum seekers. Many of these facilities are far from legal counsel, lack adequate medical staffing, and fail to meet international guidelines for detaining those seeking protection from persecution.  


Tuesday’s briefing will include a detailed description of these facilities from a former detainee and HRF staff who have visited detention prisons in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, and Texas. The briefing will also feature a discussion of key recommendations for improving the treatment and detention of asylum seekers.


WHAT:     BRIEFING: U.S. Detention of Asylum Seekers: Seeking Protection, Finding Prison           

WHO:       Eleanor Acer and Jessica Chicco, primary authors of the HRF’s report

Mark Hetfield, Sr. VP for Policy and Programs at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society,

who, in his former capacity at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom directed the Commission’s 2005 study on detention of asylum seekers

Dr. Allen Keller, Director of the Bellevue / NYU Program for Survivors of Torture

Jean-Pierre Saselluno, a Guinean human rights advocate who was detained at the

Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey for four and a half months before being granted asylum


WHEN:     Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 8:45 a.m.; Breakfast served at 8:30 a.m.


WHERE: Human Rights 

First, 333 7th Avenue
 (between 28th and 29th Sts.), 13th Floor, NYNY


RSVP:       Press are encouraged to attend; please reserve your space by contacting Brenda Bowser

                  Soder at or calling 202-370-3323.


Read the full HRF report

Read the executive summary

Read the Department of Homeland Security’s letter to Human Rights First in response to a draft of this report





Brenda Bowser Soder

Media Relations Director

Tel: (202) 370-3323

Fax: (202) 543-5999



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