What is immigration detention?

Every day the United States government mandates that 34,000 men, women and families are incarcerated in a massive detention system, comprised of federal, state and local jails.
Refugees, asylum seekers, survivors of torture, and victims of human trafficking and violent crimes are amongst those held while their immigration case is processed, and the very real potential for deportation lingers indefinitely.


Being confined in prison or prison-like conditions can be deeply traumatizing and harmful, especially for those who have suffered torture and trauma in their home country. Detention separates families, inflicts unnecessary pain and suffering on immigrants and their families, and exacerbates both a human and economic crisis that this country struggles to repair.
This comes at an enormous cost. The Obama Administration’s most recent request to Congress for immigration detention alone amounts to $5.5 million per day — well over $2 billion per year.
First Friends advocates for the end of arbitrary, mass detention and believes that detention is morally wrong, legally suspect and wasteful of taxpayer funds.
We object to the prison for profit industry that is making millions by detaining immigrants who pose no threat to our society.
We oppose all enforcement only approaches to immigration reform. The answer is a comprehensive  immigration reform bill that will provide a path to citizenship for those who have been contributing members of our society for years.
To really understand the deep systemic problems of current detention policy, please visit the detainees stories.