Tags: us | cutting | back | long | term | detention | illegals

US to Alter Long-term Detention of Immigrant Families with Children

Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 04:37 PM

U.S. immigration authorities plan to cut back on long-term detention for families with children who entered the country illegally while speeding up how they are processed at detention centers, the homeland security secretary said on Wednesday.

The flood of immigrants coming mostly from Central America and crossing the southern U.S. border has slowed from peaks last year, but is still high, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

"I have reached the conclusion that we must make substantial changes in our detention practices with respect to families with children," he said.

"In short, once a family has established eligibility for asylum or other relief under our laws, long-term detention is an inefficient use of our resources and should be discontinued," he added.

Two large, privately operated centers were set up last year in Texas, in Dilley and Karnes City.

A group of Democratic members of Congress toured the facilities this week and many criticized the Obama administration's handling of the refugees.

Back in Washington, the lawmakers said they planned to meet with Johnson later on Wednesday.

"We're aware that a statement was released that appears to be far from adequate in terms of a response," said Zoe Lofgren of California. "We intend to continue this until we can hold our heads up high as Americans and make sure that we're no longer putting in jail 1,000 little kids in Texas."

Johnson said the new policy will also allow for the release of families on bond, at levels that are "reasonable and realistic."

Mohammad Abdollahi of the San Antonio-based immigration group Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services said what is appropriate in the United States may be out of reach for a single mother fleeing violence in Honduras.

"When the secretary says folks are going to get reasonable bonds, and folks are going to get reasonable ways out of the facility, what does this actually look like for the families in detention?" Abdollahi said.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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U.S. immigration authorities plan to cut back on long-term detention for families with children who entered the country illegally while speeding up how they are processed at detention centers, the homeland security secretary said on Wednesday.The flood of immigrants coming...
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Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 04:37 PM
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