While last summer’s news about families and unaccompanied children crossing our southern border has subsided, a sad part of this story continues, the use of “family detention” in prison-like centers mainly in Texas, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Detention is said to ensure appearance at immigration proceedings and to protect the community from security or safety threats, but I believe these families are certainly not security risks. Since most are fleeing extreme violence in their home countries in Central America, exposing them to the trauma of incarceration I believe only compounds the trauma they have already experienced. Since most of these immigrants are seeking to join family in the U.S., holding them in detention is a further block to family unification.
Added to the above picture is the rapid increase in the number of detention beds in the last year, and the fact that private corporations run most of the facilities. The expanding use of detention and its very high cost result in a huge profit for these companies.
I believe that this system of family detention is morally wrong. I believe we need immigration reform based on the values of human dignity and family unity and that addresses the root causes of the poverty and violence that drive migration.
Please contact Representatives Larsen and DelBene and Senators Cantwell and Murray and ask them to end this shameful practice of family detention.