Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Dismayed as Administration Signals Long-Term Commitment to Family Detention

October 28, 2016

This week the for-profit company, Corrections Corporation of America, announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had extended its contract to detain immigrant families at the South Texas Family Residential Center facility in Dilley through September 2021. This decision precedes the results of a review that had been requested earlier this year by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, asking the Department of Homeland Security to consider whether to continue contracting with private prison companies to house immigrants. The findings from that review are expected by November 30, 2016.

Furthermore, this decision contradicts and disregards the primary recommendation from the Secretary’s Federal Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers, which is compromised of a multi-disciplinary team of experts. That committee voted on their final recommendations and report at a hearing on October 7, 2016. The forthcoming final report outlines standards for family detention facilities, along with the primary recommendation that DHS end their general use of family detention facilities.

“We have long called for the end of family detention,” says Linda Hartke, LIRS President and CEO. It is inhumane and causes irreparable harm to children and their parents. “It is unconscionable that DHS would extend this contract for five more years right on the heels of Secretary Johnson’s announcement that he would consider ending such contracts.”