Release of detained families an encouraging step

July 14, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Luis V. Gutiérrez (D- Ill.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement regarding an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announcement that some mothers and children seeking refuge at our borders will be released from detention facilities:

"ICE recently announced that it was releasing families from detention on bond, ankle bracelets, or orders of supervision if they have passed credible and reasonable fear interviews. This is a very important step in the right direction. However, we remain strongly convinced that no family – regardless of status – should be housed in jail-like facilities for any length of time. 

"During our visit to Texas detention facilities, we met with mothers and children who described the trauma of being held in jail-like conditions, even for short periods of time. Luis Zayas, Dean of Social Work at the University of Texas, has said that the trauma of detention can be observed in children who have been detained for as little as two or three weeks.

"We greatly appreciate the steps DHS is taking to limit detention for families, but we believe that family detention in its current form must end completely and unequivocally." 

Reps. Gutiérrez, Roybal-Allard, and Lofgren are leading critics of policies that detain women and children seeking refugee protection in the United States in jail-like facilities, and they have been joined by a majority of House Democrats in calling for an end to family detention. There have been many recent reports of lengthy detention, serious medical concerns, and significant developmental delays in children. 

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