FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Media Contact: [email protected]
Listen to a recording from today’s call HERE.
Washington D.C. – On a press call this afternoon, Congressman Lou Correa (CA-46), advocates and experts criticized the news that the Biden administration is considering reinstating family detention.
Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA-46) issued a statement earlier in the day, saying in part, “We’ve pushed for the end of Title 42 for over two years, leaving the Administration with ample time to prepare for its ending. This method of preparing, if chosen, is immoral and unacceptable.”
“There is no ‘safe’ duration of detention for children, even if detained alongside their parents. Whether a child’s detention lasts 20 minutes, 20 days, or 20 weeks, detention is inherently harmful. Even very brief periods of detention can have severe developmental, behavioral, psychological, emotional, and health-related consequences for children. All of these negative consequences have been documented extensively in the medical literature.” said Dr. Ranit Mishori, Senior Medical Advisor, Physicians for Human Rights. “Community-based alternatives to detention have been shown to be effective, safe, and humane. Instead of returning to abusive and dangerous Trump-era policies, the Biden administration should protect the health, rights, and wellbeing of children by embracing alternatives to detention. If the administration proceeds with a reinstatement of this heinous policy, it is an affront to medical ethics, human rights, and the President’s repeated campaign promises.”
“At RAICES, we have seen first hand the irreparable harm that family detention has on children and parents. Imagine having a front row seat to your child’s rapid deterioration and being powerless to stop it. It’s folly to think that there is a right way to detain families — cruelty is the point,” said Javier Hidalgo, Director of Pre-Removal Services, RAICES.
“After witnessing seven years of family detention at the South Texas Family Staging Center, Proyecto Dilley is saddened by the news of the possible return of family detention,” said Allison E. Herre, Attorney/Team Manager, Proyecto Dilley. “Under the law, all asylum-seekers have the right to a fair opportunity to present their request for protection. Detention impedes this right for families, who are the most vulnerable asylum-seekers today. They deserve better from us.”
“There is no humane way to jail families. Sending families to immigration jails would inflict harm, suffering, and trauma on children and families. Even short detention periods inflict terrible harms on children,” said Eleanor Acer, Senior Director of Refugee Protection, Human Rights First. “Detaining families also violates U.S. human rights obligations and wastes government resources. The Biden administration must immediately and unequivocally clarify that it will not use family detention. More broadly, the administration must end its misguided and inhumane efforts to ban, jail and otherwise punish people seeking asylum at U.S. borders.”
“It is unconscionable that the Biden administration is considering a return to a costly and inhumane practice that experts ranging from the American Academy of Pediatrics, government physicians tasked with inspecting the facilities, and even ICE’s own advisory committee on family detention said should be ended. WRC, alongside our many partners, has documented in detail, based on numerous visits to such facilities for over 10 years, that there is simply no humane way to detain families,” said Katharina Obser, Director, Migrant Rights and Justice, Women’s Refugee Commission (Moderator). “But there are smart and humane approaches. Case management—like the discontinued Family Case Management Program or current Case Management Pilot Program—can support families as they successfully navigate the asylum process and find stability with their families and communities. The Biden administration should abandon any plans for family detention, and reaffirm its previous commitment to build a humane and fair asylum system.”