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Push to End Family Detention

The push to end the detention of mothers and their children from Central America continues from members of Congress to advocacy groups. Here’s what’s happened recently.

On May 27, 136 House members joined together to call for an end to family detention. In their letter to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the House members called DHS’s decision to increase family detention rather than use alternatives “morally reprehensible. . . .immoral and inhuman,” especially when considering the particularly vulnerable refugees fleeing violence and persecution in Central America. Shortly thereafter, 33 Senators directly condemned family detention, asserting in a letter that “the prolonged detention of asylum-seeking mothers and children who pose no flight risk or danger to the community is unacceptable and goes against our most fundamental values.” These letters represent significant congressional support to end the President’s family detention practices. Nearly three-quarters of the members of Congress from the President’s own party have now called on the Administration to end this shameful practice.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said during a late May Senate hearing that he’s evaluating whether family detention is an appropriate policy, but no announcement of a changed policy has yet to be made.

Could an end to the Administration’s questionable family detention policy be in sight? We sure hope so.