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The Detention, Democracy & Due Process (D3P) Project works to repair failures in the U.S. immigration system and uphold the due process protections of immigrants in the United States. Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) seeks to use law as an instrument for change, arguing landmark cases before the U.S. Courts of Appeals and advocating with members of Congress and high-level officials of the Obama administration.

Systemic reform in the immigration system is urgently needed in a political environment that favors harsh enforcement and arbitrary detention over meaningful changes to the law that would benefit American families, communities, and businesses.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detains nearly 400,000 immigrants per year in at least 300 immigration detention facilities across the country, costing taxpayers approximately $2.55 billion annually. The detention population has grown more than 60 percent between 2004 and 2008, hitting record numbers last year. Medical care in detention is inadequate and more than 107 immigrants have died while in detention since 2003.

In order to have the greatest impact, D3P uses three collaborative approaches:

  • Litigation: Federal court litigation provides an avenue to challenge laws, policies, and practices that violate the Constitution or U.S. immigration laws.
  • Policy Advocacy: NIJC builds bridges among supporters of immigrant rights and strengthens advocates’ capacity to monitor current systems, exposes violations of human and constitutional rights, and presents viable recommendations to the White House, members of Congress, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and international human rights bodies.
  • Strategic Communications: NIJC is a leading voice in the defense of immigrant rights. Providing factual information gathered first-hand in jails, courthouses, and communities, NIJC uses a rights-based lens to frame pressing issues that affect immigrants’ lives and the well-being of our nation at large.