Letter to the Editor Submission to The New York Times

May 16, 2024

Re: “Immigrant Detention Should Have No Place in Our Society” by Ana Raquel Minian: 

Ms. Minian fails to reflect how, for 40 years, both Democratic and Republican administrations have turned to federal contractors to help manage crises and challenges in the US immigration system, providing dignified, respectful care under multiple levels of government oversight. Instead, she uses inflammatory and false rhetoric, like “caging migrants,” to paint a narrative that is not supported by the facts. 

Governments first began utilizing contractors in the 1980s to address unsafe and unconstitutional conditions in public correctional systems. The reality is that government cannot do everything on its own and must often rely on service providers to support their mission. 

Today, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operates a small number of its own facilities, and thus relies on contractors, who in many cases have invested in modern, purpose-built facilities to care for migrants in the immigration review process. These facilities include health care services and online courtrooms, among other features and are held to strict federal standards and oversight. Without this critical infrastructure, migrants would likely be housed in overcrowded local jails alongside potentially dangerous individuals. 

The men and women navigating the US immigration system deserve respectful and dignified care, not political rhetoric and misinformation. 

Alexandra Wilkes 

Day 1 Alliance 

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