Since its formation in September 2018, CREEC’s Immigration Detention Accountability Project (IDAP) has fought to assert the rights of and improve conditions for hundreds of immigrants in ICE custody in Colorado and across the nation and is laying the groundwork for future litigation efforts. Under Director Liz Jordan’s leadership, IDAP has focused on three key areas thus far: legal challenge of conditions of confinement in immigration detention centers, legal challenge of discrimination against detained immigrants with disabilities, and education and outreach on detention conditions and treatment of immigrants with disabilities.
Recent projects include procurement of previously unreleased documents relating to life-threatening treatment of detainees in Colorado and California; cessation of improper use of federal prisons for immigrant detention in California; multiple advocacy efforts; and educational initiatives to raise public awareness of the conditions facing immigrant detainees and their civil rights. In an ongoing transparency litigation case in Colorado, IDAP procured previously unreleased ICE documents relating to deaths of immigrants in detention and treatment of people with disabilities. These documents had never before been made public and are part of a larger effort to hold ICE accountable to the public through the release of information. Last summer, IDAP also filed a federal class action lawsuit in Victorville, California on behalf of asylum seekers who were being illegally held in a federal prison despite not having criminal convictions. As a result of CREEC’s lawsuit, the U.S. government’s practice of holding detainees who have not committed a crime was discontinued at this prison. Additionally, IDAP offers civil rights consultation to lawyers for immigrants with disabilities, represents people in ICE custody, advocates for adequate care and accommodations for people in ICE custody, and investigates ongoing conditions of confinement issues.
As IDAP’s Director, Liz makes regular appearances in the press on abuses within immigration detention centers, most recently on the lack of sufficient medical care and the outbreak of mumps at the detention center in Aurora, Colorado. Liz has also presented at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, the ACLU national staff conference, and the Colorado Bar Association on the rights of people in immigration detention. CREEC is pleased to host two Denver University law student externs this semester, Ali Sheets and Allison Crennan-Dunlap, for work with the Immigration Detention Accountability Project.
What’s next for CREEC’s Immigration Detention Accountability Project? “Our country’s current immigration policies have dramatically increased immigrant detention, resulting in dangerous overcrowding, lack of sufficient resources, and violations of basic rights for detained individuals. Through litigation and advocacy, we are committed to continue fighting for the rights of people detained in ICE custody,” notes Liz, “and Thank You to all of the CREEC supporters who help make our work possible.”