Last month, officials began releasing some of the 2,172 undocumented immigrant families. Those being released are among those who have valid asylum claims from federal detention centers, which reportedly subject families to deplorable conditions. Some of the heads of households of these families were fitted with GPS monitoring devices as a condition of their release.
Richard Rocha, spokesperson for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), responded to claims from human rights groups that the conditions in these family detention centers for immigrants are so poor that they have prompted suicides and hunger strikes. Rocha declared that moving forward, ICE will not detain mothers with children if they are not deemed a threat to public safety or national security, and if they are found to have fled to the U.S. for credible fear in their home country. Furthermore, ICE will be appointing a federal committee of outside experts to advise the agency on family detention centers.
The first to be released were those who had been detained the longest. ICE is also reviewing the cases of any family detained more than 90 days to determine if they should be detained at all while their immigration case is pending. While the population of the three family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania will initially fall as a result of these releases, the facilities will continue to intake and detain more people.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyer: Deplorable Conditions Reported in Family Detention Facilities
Organizations like the Detention Watch Network, an organization which “advocate(s) for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons,” feel the decision to release these families is a small step in the right direction, but falls short of what they want: to close these deplorable facilities permanently due to human rights violations, the hindrance of due process the facilities create and the extremely negligent medical conditions found in them. Furthermore, they find the practice of fitting mothers with GPS tracking devices dehumanizing.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Calls for Shut Down of Family Detention Centers
Advocating for the release of immigrant asylum seekers is not only coming from human rights groups. In June, 2015, Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, stated that long-term incarceration of immigrants seeking asylum was a waste of government resources and should be discontinued altogether. He added that the Department of Homeland Security would offer to release families on bond who are found to be in genuine fear of persecution in their home countries. In response, ICE said it will take into account a family’s ability to pay when determining a bond amount.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, PC Represent Asylum Seeking Immigrants
If you or someone you know is being detained in or released from a family detention center pending an immigration case, the experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, PC can help. For more than fifteen years, our Philadelphia immigration lawyers have been helping families with issues such as deportations, family visas, asylum, abuse petitions, and employment visas. We will treat you with the dignity and the respect you deserve as we help you through the immigration process. Call us today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online.