Target: United States Congress
Goal: Stop the expansion of private federal prisons for illegal immigrants
While undocumented immigrants already must fear deportation at the hands of the United States government, an arguably worse fate awaits those unlucky enough to be arrested for illegal reentry into the country. The Streamline program, first initiated in 2005, seeks to push migrants toward criminal proceedings instead of simply sending them back over the border. So many undocumented immigrants have been incarcerated in private prisons under the program that now nearly half of all federal prisoners are Latino. Inside their cells, these immigrants suffer terrible conditions–inadequate food, poor medical care, and constant abuse from guards–all for the “crime” of trying to reunite with their families. Now, Congress is considering a plan for 1,000 new prison beds in private facilities for non-citizens–a proposal in the 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill that would cost the country nearly $26 million.
Some undocumented immigrants spend years serving their sentences inside poorly operated private prisons, and many never live to see their families again. Prisoners have died of cancer after their illness went undiagnosed and untreated for months, while others commit suicide after being refused medication and treatment for serious mental disorders. Whether or not they are citizens of the United States, these prisoners are being denied their most basic human rights–a widespread injustice that must be stopped immediately.
The federal government has spent a total of $5.5 billion incarcerating undocumented immigrants since the Streamline program was first enacted. Tell the United States Congress not to pour any more taxpayer dollars into understaffed and overcrowded facilities and to reject the expansion of private prisons for immigrants.
Dear members of Congress,
Since 2005, the United States government has spent a total of $5.5 billion imprisoning undocumented immigrants trying to cross the border in order to reunite with their families. Once incarcerated, migrants suffer awful conditions inside poorly staffed private prisons. Stories of neglect, abuse, and even preventable death have emerged from these facilities, yet the federal government still plans to expand these prisons to hold more inmates.
I ask that you cancel all plans to continue incarcerating undocumented immigrants inside private facilities. Enough taxpayer money has been wasted on these egregious human rights abuses. All humans, citizens or no, deserve the basic dignity and respect that has been denied prisoners inside these private facilities for immigrants.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Amanda Slater via Flickr.