“Tonight, more than 40,000 immigrants — men, women and children — will sleep in county jails, federal incarceration centers and privately run prison facilities in the United States. They are not being locked up as a form of punishment; they are behind bars because they are defending themselves against deportation. Many will ultimately prevail and stay legally in the United States. A large majority of them have been incarcerated without any hearing, and have no way of knowing when their detention will end.
“The Op-Docs virtual reality film ‘Indefinite,’ which documents similar practices in Britain, shows how indefinite detention imposes hardship and suffering on incarcerated immigrants, their families and communities. In the United States, countless people are detained unnecessarily for months or even years under similar conditions — eroding our basic constitutional notions of due process and liberty and driving up costs to taxpayers. As a society, we cannot afford this.”