Three members of Congress introduced a bill this week that would restrict the detention of LGBT migrants. The proposed legislation introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) would restrain Border Patrol operations against “vulnerable populations.”
The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to restrict the number of detentions.
Several categories of illegal immigrants would be protected from any form of detention, including the same “vulnerable persons and primary caregivers.”
Such “vulnerable persons” would include LGBT illegal immigrants, who would receive special legal protections. The bill includes similar provisions for those under the age of 21 or above 60.
NEW: Democrats have introduced a bill that states illegal immigrants who are LGBTQ “may not be detained” by DHS, along with other “vulnerable persons” who they have defined as anyone under 21, over 60, pregnant, limited English, & several other categories.https://t.co/UV66mhIpGc
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 22, 2023
Other protected classes include pregnant women and those with “limited English language proficiency.” Those seeking asylum would receive consideration from U.S. authorities.
If the bill became law, border officials would have 48 hours to determine whether or not to detain an illegal alien, and only then under limited circumstances.
Under this plan, the DHS would use the “least restrictive conditions” and guarantee a custody hearing within three days. These hearings would include a “presumption that the alien should be released.”
The bill proposes a number of other changes, including the end of privately-owned detention facilities. Booker said that the current immigration system “allowed for the unjust treatment of immigrants and stripped them of their humanity and due process.”
Several dozen Democrats in the House have signed onto the bill, alongside some in the Senate.
The current bill stands in contrast with conservative criticism of the Biden administration’s border security policies. In particular, many Republicans are upset with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over policies they believe encourage unaccompanied minors to cross the border.
The number of migrants crossing the southern border reached record highs last year. May 2022 saw the highest number of encounters between the Border Patrol and migrants, at 224,370.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of migrants approaching the border after President Joe Biden was inaugurated in January 2023.