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Immigration Reform News: Hillary Clinton Calls for Immigrant Detention Reforms, Receives Support From National Groups

First Posted: May 07, 2015 05:08 PM EDT
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for comprehensive immigration reform and support of President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions, but the former secretary of state also spoke about reforms on immigrant detention and its practices.

During a roundtable discussion in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Clinton said she will "do everything possible under the law to go even further" on immigration reform through executive action if Congress refuses to act.

"There's much more to do to expand and enhance protections for families and communities," Clinton said. "To reform immigration enforcement and detention practices so they're more humane, more targeted, and more effective, and to keep building the pressure and support for comprehensive reform."

Clinton also said she will work on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants' human rights, particularly individuals detained.The former senator from New York further said she is "worried" about the immigrant detention for the sake of a detainee's mental and physical health and such facilities should be for individuals with a violent and illegal record. 

According to Detention Watch Network (DWN), a national coalition of organizations and individuals working against injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system, Clinton's remarks on the detention centers was commended.

"We are encouraged to hear presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton join the growing consensus that our profit-driven immigration detention system is inhumane and morally corrupt," DWN Co-Director Silky Shah said. "However, in calling for a more 'humane' system, Clinton misses the heart of the problem. Detaining people for a civil immigration violation for months and years at a time simply cannot be made humane."

"Our immigration system should at all costs work to avoid putting people behind bars for searching for a better life," continued Shah. "That means eliminating the immigrant detention quota Clinton referred to in her roundtable, which requires 34,000 people be locked up at any given time. It also means ending detention of families, and it means completely dismantling a system that incentivizes human suffering: no more detention, period."

In a statement released by Presente.org, the largest online Latino organizing group with more than 300,000 members nationwide, said Clinton should also commit to the "demilitarization" of the border "where Latinos have been murdered and maimed with impunity, and to completely end the inhumane, and largely for-profit, detention of tens of thousands of immigrants including women and children."

"There is no such thing as humane detention, and Latinos will not be fooled by any Clinton promises to the contrary," added Presente.org

As Latin Post reported, Clinton has called for a path for "full and equal" citizenship for immigrants.

"This is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side," said Clinton. "Make no mistakes, today not a single Republican candidate -- announced or potential -- is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship, not one, when they talk about legal status, that's code for second class status."

The former secretary of state said there should be in place a "simple, straightforward accessible way" for parents of DREAMers and others who have contributed to the community to make their case and become eligible for the same deferred action as their children.

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