U.S. Commission on Civil Rights calls detention of immigrant families a violation of their Civil and Constitutional rights

September 21, 2015

The recommendation comes at the heels of the government’s decision to appeal a federal judge’s order to release detained families

(AUSTIN, Texas) — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released their recommendations on immigrant family detention, calling for the release of mothers and children from several detention camps. The Commission concluded that the the detention of immigrant families is a violation of their constitutional rights. The recommendations came just days before the Department of Homeland Security announced its decision to appeal Judge Dolly Gee’s ruling that ordered federal officials to release the families.  

The Commission echoed what immigrant families, advocates, courts, and Congress members have been saying since the Obama Administration began the mass detention of Central American women and children in the summer of 2014. The Commission said detaining immigrants is “inhumane” and “unconstitutional,” calling for the practice to be stopped immediately. The Commission, a bipartisan, independent federal agency, adds its opinion to the growing momentum against family detention. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration continues to move backwards on the issue of family detention, as evidenced by the announcement from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Friday that the government would fight Judge Gee’s ruling in court.  

Bob Libal, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership testified to the commission in January stating “ICE should end the practice of detaining immigrant children and their families, instead opting for policies that keep immigrant families together and out of detention while they pursue their asylum claims in immigration courts. ICE should immediately end its no bond policy for immigrant families, and should end contracts with private prison corporations GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America to detain families at the Karnes County and Dilley family detention facilities”

Grassroots Leadership calls on the Obama Administration to immediately close the family detention camps. “Despite the public outcry for the end of the inhumane practice of family detention, the Obama Administration continues to fight to keep it. We would like to see Obama listen to not only the Commission but to all the other voices demanding an end to this practice,” said Alejandro Caceres, immigration organizer at Grassroots Leadership  “Releasing women and children from the detention camps now would be a great first step for the administration to show that they are listening to the loud and growing outcry against family detention”  

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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works to end prison profiteering and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education.


Contact: Alejandro Caceres, acaceres@grassrootsleadership.org, 512-499-8111