September 24, 2014 STATEMENT — Inhumane Family Detention is Growing and Must Be Stopped

Press Contact: Miji Bell; 410-230-2841

Washington, D.C., September 24, 2014 – I am saddened at the news that the Obama Administration has announced the opening of yet another detention facility for immigrant families, this one in Dilley, Texas. The incarceration of mothers and children is inhumane, costly and must stop. This practice is contrary to American values of care for the most vulnerable, liberty and justice for all and the values of compassion and welcome taught by our faith. The forthcoming South Texas Family Residential Center and similar family detention facilities in Artesia, New Mexico, Karnes City, Texas, and Leesport, Pennsylvania, may provide food and beds, but they are not appropriate places for babies, toddlers, teens or parents who have fled horrific violence as they seek refuge in the United States. Humane alternatives to detention exist, and the facts support that mothers seeking protection for their families in the United States have great incentive to show up for their immigration hearings when they finally have a chance to tell the story of their experience. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service remains firmly opposed to family detention and asks that the Administration end this practice and instead utilize proven and cost-effective alternatives to detention.

Linda Hartke
President and CEO