November 18, 2014 STATEMENT–LIRS Statement in Response to Artesia Closure: End Family Detention

Washington, D.C.–Today, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that mothers and children currently housed in the Family Detention Center in Artesia, New Mexico will be transitioned to a new, massive immigration detention facility, scheduled to open in Dilley, Texas in December. LIRS remains adamant that the detention of children and families is a costly and inhumane practice that is contrary to inter­national protection principles and should end. Compassionate care for the most vulnerable undergirds our American values and demands that we extend protection to those who have sought refuge in our country.

In a report LIRS recently co-authored with the Women’s Refugee Commission, Locking Up Family Values, Again, we reach a basic conclusion: there is simply no way to humanely detain families. Continuing to do so inherently denies due process, impedes migrants’ ability to access the immigration legal system and other critical services, and leaves migrants vulnerable to abuse.  Humane alternatives to detention have been proven to be a far more cost-efficient and effective measure to maintaining family unity and promoting compliance with our immigration laws. We again urge the Obama Administration to close family detention facilities and instead improve access to protection; revise policies of no or high bonds for fam­ilies; and utilize the vast array of alternatives to detention that have been proven to be cost-effective and successful.

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Contact: Brittney Nystrom, Director for Advocacy, LIRS at bnystrom@lirs.org or (202) 626-7948

Liz Sweet, Director for Access to Justice, LIRS at lsweet@lirs.org or (410) 230-2728