Why It’s Time to #Fix96
Detention Watch Network
This year marks the 20th anniversary of harsh immigration laws that ushered in a devastating era of mass deportation.
These laws – the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996 – vastly expanded the pool of non-citizens marked out for “removal,” led to the creation of a massive, militarized deportation apparatus under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security, made detention and deportation mandatory for a wide range of past criminal offenses, and stripped immigrants of many basic rights, including the right to a fair day in court.
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be asking partners and allies across a range of issues and communities to detail the impact of these laws on their memberships and constituencies and why they think it’s time to roll them back – to #Fix96.
Previously, we heard from Families for Freedom and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. This week, we’re featuring Detention Watch Network, a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons.
How do the 1996 immigration laws impact the core issues your organization works on?
After 1996, any noncitizen could be subject to detention and deportation, and individuals’ rights to due process were essentially dismissed. The ’96 immigration laws expanded the criminalization of immigrant communities leading to a sharp rise in the mass incarceration of immigrants. And they significantly broadened the types of crimes deemed deportable. Millions have been deported through the implementation of provisions such as mandatory detention and deportation.
From your organization’s perspective, what needs to change to address those problems?
We need to build a strong mass movement of people directly impacted by the 1996 laws, including immigrant communities, communities of color, and allies, to push for a more humane system. As a first step, we must repeal mandatory detention, end the immigrant detention quota, and stop police-ICE collaboration, to address the problems with the immigration system in the U.S.
Please complete this sentence: It’s time to #fix96 because…
It’s time to #fix96 because we need a system that values migration and promotes the human rights and dignity of all persons.