As the harmful effects of immigration detention become more widely known and the appropriateness of detaining migrants is increasingly questioned, governments are looking at alternatives to detention as more humane and rights-respecting approaches to addressing the management of migrants and asylum seekers with unsettled legal status. This report examines alternatives to immigration detention in six countries: Bulgaria, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States to highlight viable, successful alternatives that countries should implement before resorting to detention. While the report provides an analysis of specific alternatives to detention (often referred to as ATDs) in each country, it is not intended to provide a comprehensive overview of all alternative programs available.
Each country featured in this report has taken a different approach to alternatives to detention. Some focus more heavily on surveillance and others on a more person-centered, holistic approach. Ultimately, this report finds alternatives that place the basic needs and dignity of migrants at the forefront of policy, such as community-based case management programs, offer a rights-respecting alternative to detention while simultaneously furthering governments' legitimate immigration enforcement aims.