Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued a press release announcing a number of modifications to family detention. The announcement claims that the agency will do away with long-term detention in most cases and set “reasonable” bonds for families that pass credible fear examinations. Our take on this is expressed perfectly by our executive director, Bob Libal in Grassroots Leadership’s statement: “It is impossible to make family detention reasonable or humane. Mass family detention is an extremely recent development and is emblematic of our society’s rush to use incarceration as the solution to any difficult issue. The Administration ended mass family detention once in 2009, and they can and should end it again today.” Drawing by 8-year-old in family detention given to Rep.
Roybal-Allard on recent Congressional tour
An outpouring of legislators, advocacy organizations, and faith groups also released statements that these changes are not sufficient, and that the only solution is to end the inhumane detention of asylum seeking mothers and children altogether.