August 13, 2014
(GENEVA) — Grassroots Leadership and Justice Strategies today submitted a report to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination that examines how the prosecution of immigrants in the U.S. has led to a boom of segregated immigrant prisons run by for-profit, private prison companies.
The report examines the sharp increase in the number of migrants, the vast majority being Mexican nationals, who are criminally prosecuted for crossing the border; the increasing disparate impact on the federal incarcerated populations with regards to race, ethnicity, nationality and citizenship status resulting from such criminal prosecutions; and the substandard, privately operated segregated immigrant prisons where the majority of sentenced migrants are incarcerated.
The U.S. government ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD or more commonly, CERD) treaty in 1994 and must report periodically to the United Nations on its record to uphold the human rights protected in this treaty. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is holding an interactive dialogue today in Geneva with non-governmental organizations from the U.S. ahead of its review of that country.
"The sharp rise in the discretionary criminal prosecutions of immigrants for crossing the Southern border has had detrimental consequences," said Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership. "Not only has it funneled tens of thousands of immigrants into a substandard and privatized federal prison system and wasted billions in taxpayer dollars, this report shows that these prosecutions have resulted in glaring racial disparities in our nation's prison system. The United States should address these disparities and end these senseless prosecutions as soon as possible."
Recommendations for the Committee include the end of criminal prosecutions of migrants for crossing the border, a review of privately operated prisons for migrants, the closure of those found to be substandard and a return to the exclusive use of the civil immigration system for migrants apprehended crossing the border.
The report is jointly submitted by Grassroots Leadership and Justice Strategies. Founded in 1980, Grassroots Leadership is a multi-racial social justice organization based in the Southern and Southwestern United States that works to end the use of for-profit incarceration and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education. Justice Strategies, formed as an informal partnership in 2000 and launched as a formal organization in 2003, is a U.S.-based nonprofit research organization dedicated to providing high quality “action research” to advocates and policymakers pursuing more humane and cost-effective approaches to criminal justice and immigration law enforcement.