PLEDGE TO BOYCOTT THE DESIGN OF IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTERS
The Architecture Lobby and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) continue to condemn the current administration’s assault on immigrant rights. These violent and racist policies are designed to cause fear and chaos; target those seeking asylum and refuge; and weaponize the built environment against immigrants. Following up on our joint statement of April 2018, The Architecture Lobby and ADPSR call on all design professionals to refuse to participate in the design and construction of any immigration detention and deterrence infrastructure, including but not limited to walls, Border Patrol Stations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices, detention facilities, or juvenile holding centers.
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The AIA recently issued a statement denouncing the conditions at detention centers, objecting to the misuse of the buildings themselves. While we welcome AIA’s focus on human rights at the border, we need to recognize that our profession’s commitment to health, safety, and welfare is about more than the enforcement of building codes. A detention center where toddlers have been separated from their families is not a healthy building, regardless of fire safety, ventilation and code compliance. It is not the health of buildings that is at stake today, but the health of our society and democracy. The architectural profession must unequivocally denounce the racist policies that underlie the creation of immigration detention centers: there is no ‘good design’ for the infrastructures of inhumane and violent policies rooted in white supremacy.
In the summer of 2018, The Architecture Lobby & ADPSR called on architects, designers, planners, and allied professionals to refuse to participate in the design and construction of any immigration enforcement infrastructure. The relentless assault on immigrants’ rights since then is unacceptable: family separations, carried out intentionally under the “zero tolerance” policy prosecuting all unauthorized border crossings, have taken thousands of children from their parents with no plan for reunification; at least 6 children have died in US custody since September 2018; asylum seekers have been turned back at border crossings in defiance of U.S. and international law; humanitarian aid workers have been prosecuted; emboldened and heavily-armed militias patrol the southwest; ICE regularly threatens mass raids; detention centers are overcrowded and inhumane, while long-standing allegations of abuse and mismanagement at these facilities continue; the Border Patrol’s toxic, racist culture has been exposed ; they have fired tear gas into Mexico; DHS has surveilled journalists and activists, targeted and demonized migrant caravans; the White House has cut aid to Central America, slashed refugee admissions, and is pressuring Guatemala into an improbable safe third country agreement; and the president has repeatedly asserted that four U.S. congresswomen of color should “go back” to the “crime infested” countries they “came from.”
Architects, as licensed professionals, are obliged to uphold the public’s health, safety, and welfare; and therefore must make their dissent against these violations known.
WE CALL ON DESIGN PROFESSIONALS TO:
- SPEAK UP: Condemn all policies that use the built environment as an instrument of torture and oppression.
- BOYCOTT: Refuse to participate in the design and construction of any immigration detention and deterrence infrastructure, including but not limited to border walls, Border Patrol Stations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices, detention facilities, or juvenile holding centers. Reject any association with individuals or corporations linked to the immigration / security industrial complex and denounce the unethical, racist campaign that is ongoing in the US/Mexico border and throughout the country.
- ORGANIZE your workplace or school. If the firm / university / organization you are part of is implicated in the immigration / security industrial complex, you can make an important contribution to this struggle for human rights. The Architecture Lobby is ready to assist people looking for a way to build collective resistance to injustice, from workplace organizing to divestment campaigns. Contact us at
You can find more information and tips to get you started on organizing on our website at:
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