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  • Detention

    The Harm of Family Detention thumbnail

    The Harm of Family Detention

    Why Modifying Flores and Detaining Families Together Cannot Be the Answer to Family Separation

    As Congress weighs bills and the Administration considers policies that would result in the long-term detention of families, this backgrounder explains why modifying the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement – which sets national standards regarding the detention, release, and treatment of all children in immigration detention – and expanding family detention cannot be the answer to the Trump administration’s self-created family separation policies.
    FOIA Request to ICE on Detention of Pregnant Women thumbnail

    FOIA Request to ICE on Detention of Pregnant Women

    This letter constitutes a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (FOIA) submitted on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Immigration Council (Council), and Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) (Requesters). The Requesters also request a fee waiver, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) and 6 C.F.R. § 5.11(k), and expedited processing, pursuant to 6 C.F.R. § 5.5(d) and 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(E). The justifications for the fee waiver and expedited processing are set out in detail following the request.
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    Prison for Survivors

    The Detention of Women Seeking Asylum in the U.S.

    Alarmed at the increase in the detention of women seeking asylum, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) in 2016 and 2017 sought to document the conditions of detention, treatment, and obstacles to a fair asylum process that women in detention face. We visited seven detention facilities across four states including: Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico, spoke with numerous local service providers and advocates, analyzed government data, and interviewed nearly 150 women who were in need of protection but were instead detained, many for months.
    Joint Complaint on ICE Detention and Treatment of Pregnant Women thumbnail

    Joint Complaint on ICE Detention and Treatment of Pregnant Women

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Immigration Council (Council), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS), the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on behalf of women who are or were pregnant and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The complaint’s findings include reports by currently and formerly detained women that illustrate ICE’s failure to implement its own policy limiting the detention of pregnant women; inhumane detention conditions; and inadequate medical care.
    Detention Expansion Standards Letter thumbnail

    Detention Expansion Standards Letter

    Letter to Secretary Kelly Urging Him to Abandon Any Plans to Pursue This Costly Expansion

    The Washington Post has reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is actively seeking to expand the immigration detention system so it has the capacity to lock up over 60,000 immigrants. This bid for more detention beds and facilities comes at the same time that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly seeks to slash the few protections in place to protect the safety and civil rights of individuals who are detained. We urge Secretary Kelly to abandon any plans to pursue this costly expansion. We further urge Secretary Kelly to strengthen rather than lessen standards and monitoring of a system that already endangers the lives and due process rights of asylum seekers and immigrants.
    Family Separation Sign On Letter thumbnail

    Family Separation Sign On Letter

    Letter to Secretary Kelly Opposing Plan to Separate Migrant Families at the Border

    On March 22, 2017, nearly 200 national, state and local organizations sent this letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly expressing opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed plan to separate migrant families at the border. Secretary Kelly has now twice remarked that he is considering such a move in order to deter families from seeking protection at our borders. The letter calls on Secretary Kelly to “reverse course on any policy proposal that would seek to tear apart families or otherwise inflict trauma and harm.” It also notes that separating families undermines their ability to seek asylum, a right protected by both U.S. and international law.
    Letter to DHS and ICE To Recognize Immigrant Communities Deserve Safety and Justice thumbnail

    Letter to DHS and ICE To Recognize Immigrant Communities Deserve Safety and Justice

    On March 8, 2017, Women's Refugee Commission as well as over 560 other national, state and local organizations sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John F. Kelly and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan calling on DHS to recognize that immigrant communities deserve safety and justice.
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    Betraying Family Values

    How Immigration Policy at the United States Border is Separating Families

    This report documents the ways in which family separation is caused, both intentionally and unintentionally, by the U.S. government’s immigration custody and enforcement decisions. It explains how the government’s lack of consistent mechanisms for identifying and tracking family members result in family members being detained or removed separately and often losing contact with each other. Because the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies currently have little policy guidance on humanitarian considerations during enforcement actions, many families are needlessly torn apart.
    Inter-American Commission on Human Rights holds hearing on access to asylum in the United States thumbnail

    Inter-American Commission on Human Rights holds hearing on access to asylum in the United States

    Letter to Secretary of State Tillerson Urging US to Reaffirm Commitment to Protect and Defend Human Rights

    WRC requested and participated in a thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the autonomous human rights body of the Organization of American States (OAS), during its 161 Period of Sessions (Mar. 15-22, 2017) on measures taken by or at the request of the United States that impede access to asylum in the United States and interfere with the right to family life and other core human rights protections.
    Separation of Immigrant Families in U.S. Immigration Custody  thumbnail

    Separation of Immigrant Families in U.S. Immigration Custody

    As the numbers of family units migrating together rises, so have the instances of arbitrary and harmful family separation, both before and upon reaching the U.S. border. Family unity must also be a respected principle in enforcement and removal operations by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
    Family Detention & the Flores Settlement Agreement thumbnail

    Family Detention & the Flores Settlement Agreement

    In the summer of 2015, a court ruled that government practices of detaining asylum-seeking families violate the 1997 Flores Settlement for unaccompanied children. The government’s should immediately reverse their family detention policies, dismantle the facilities, and release children and their parents.
    One Year Later: Where are the refugee mothers and children? thumbnail

    One Year Later: Where are the refugee mothers and children?

    In June 2014, President Obama referred to the unprecedented numbers of children and families fleeing violence in Central America as an “urgent humanitarian situation.” Since then, these asylum-seekers have been detained in prison-like detention facilities.

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