Go to Press Releases library
Press Releases

Humanitarian Group Slams the White House for Prioritizing Political Cover Over Protecting Women and Children at Risk of Violence

Women’s Refugee Commission Outraged As Obama Administration Doubles Down on Deportation and Detention, Seeking Permission from Congress To Roll Back Protections for Children and Opening the Artesia Family Detention Center in NM

Statement from Michelle Brané, Director of Migrant Rights & Justice Programs at Women's Refugee Commission on this weekend’s announcement that the Obama Administration would seek legislative changes that jeopardize the safety of children seeking protection and following Friday’s news that the Administration has begun housing families at the Artesia Detention Center and plans to have them processed and removed within in less than two weeks time:

“This weekend’s announcement that the Obama Administration will seek legislative changes to the law in order to avoid protections in place for children is a sad confirmation that the Obama Administration is doubling down on bad policy.”

Last week, news broke that the Administration had begun housing families at the Artesia Detention center in New Mexico and had begun the process of rapidly deporting those families back to the dangerous situations they fled, with the purpose of ‘sending a message.”  Now they are asking for permission to avoid protections for children, again with the intent of “sending a message.” This is an appalling abdication of America’s responsibilities both under US and international law.

Simply put, we are profoundly disturbed by the White House’s willingness to sacrifice the lives of women and children for short-term political cover in this humanitarian crisis.  There is no question that additional funding is needed to address this situation, however, President Obama's message to parents not to let their children make this dangerous journey is an insult to families in a desperate situation. No parent sends their children into danger unless they feel they have no choice.

Instead of focusing on keeping these children out of the United States, we should be focusing on the all too real issues in the region that are driving them out of their homes. Additional resources should go to addressing root causes, strengthening protection in the region, and re-enforcing our protection and adjudication of claims, not to blocking access to protection and sending women and children back to the dangerous situations they are fleeing. Family detention is an awful and heartbreaking process that traumatizes parents and their children.. Children, some as young as four years old, arriving at our borders seeking protection will not be able to articulate their fears to a border agent within moments of being apprehended. The Obama Administration should know better. The Administration’s commitment to additional detentions and expedited deportations is not due process, but a mockery of justice from officials just trying to sweep endangered women and children out of sight and out of mind.”

For more information, consult this Los Angeles Times article.

For interviews with Michelle Brané, in either English or Spanish, please contact Diana Quickat 212.551/3087 or by email at dianaq@wrcommission.org.