Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly Digest
For a monthly digest of the Immigrant Solidarity Network,
join here

Immigrqant SSolidarity Network Daily email
For a daily email update, join here







National Immigrant Solidarity Network
No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!

Los Angeles: (213)403-0131
New York: (212)330-8172
Washington DC: (202)595-8990

The National Immigrant Solidarity Network (NISN) is a coalition of immigrant rights, labor, human rights, religious, and student activist organizations from across the country. We work with leading immigrant rights, students and labor groups. In solidarity with their campaigns, and organize community immigrant rights education campaigns.

From legislative letter-writing campaigns to speaker bureaus and educational materials, we organize critical immigrant-worker campaigns that are moving toward justice for all immigrants!

Appeal for Donations!

Please support the Important Work of National Immigrant Solidarity Network!

Send check pay to:
ActionLA/AFGJ
The Peace Center/ActionLA
8124 West 3rd Street Suite 104
Los Angeles, CA 90048

(All donations are tax deductible)

Information about the National Immigrant Solidarity network
Pamphlet (PDF)

See our Flyers Page to download flyers

 

 

2/23: LIRS Report Reveals Mistreatment of Detained Immigrant Families
Released 24 February 2007  By ELCA NEWS SERVICE

LIRS Report Reveals Mistreatment of Detained Immigrant Families

ELCA NEWS SERVICE
February 23, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ELCA) -- A report released Feb. 22 details "disturbing" conditions at the two U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) facilities which house families undergoing immigration proceedings.

"Locking Up Family Values: The Detention of Immigrant Families," released by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, lists several key problems with the treatment of detained families in the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, and the Berks Family Shelter Care Facility in Leesport, Pa.

Families are detained in "prison-like conditions" for days, months, and sometimes years while awaiting resolution of their immigration proceedings, according to the report. Many experience widespread psychological trauma and are subject to inadequate medical and mental health care, food service, recreation, and disciplinary practices, the report said. Many detained families are seeking asylum from persecution in their home countries, but have limited access to legal counsel.

"As a country that supports family values, we should not be treating families who have not committed a crime like criminals, particularly children," said Ralston H. Deffenbaugh Jr., LIRS president, Baltimore. Immigration violations are civil offenses, and family detention centers do not house anyone with a criminal conviction, he said.
LIRS is a cooperative agency of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Before the 512-bed Hutto Center opened in 2006, the majority of families apprehended at the borders or in the interior of the country were either released or separated from each other and detained individually, according to the report. Because the center increased family detainment capacity, the number of families detained in such facilities has increased dramatically since 2006.

Noting that LIRS supports keeping immigrant families together during immigration proceedings, Deffenbaugh said, "Now that the family detention system is beginning, we felt that it was vital to examine the implications of this expanding penal approach to family detention in order to inform the development of policy and practice that serves the best interests of children and families." Currently, there are no codified standards, licensing requirements, nor impartial oversight and inspection procedures in place regarding family detention centers.

The report made several specific recommendations:
+ Discontinue the detention of families in penal institutions and close the Hutto Center.

+ Institutionalize a preference for release of all families who can establish an identity and community ties and who do not pose a security risk, so families are released no more than three weeks after apprehension.

+ Implement alternatives to detention within three weeks for families not eligible for parole or release.

+ House families not eligible for parole, release or alternative programs in "appropriate nonpenal, homelike facilities" subject to oversight and inspection by an independent authority.

+ Do not redetain children released from Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody upon family reunification. The report details methods of entrapment of some immigrant parents, who are called to pick up their children from ORR custody, only to have the whole family detained.

+ Employ enhanced public-private partnerships to provide legal orientation programs, including legal information and pro bono legal access, for all detained families, including those in expedited removal proceedings. -- -- --
Audio of comments made at a Feb. 22 news conference by Ralston H. Deffenbaugh Jr., LIRS president, Baltimore, is at http://media.ELCA.org/audionews/070222A.mp3 and by Emily Butera, LIRS policy advocate, Washington, D.C., is at http://media.ELCA.org/audionews/070222B.mp3 on the ELCA Web site.

The full report, "Locking Up Family Values: The Detention of Immigrant Families," is in a PDF format at http://www.lirs.org/LockingUpFamilyValues.pdf on the Web.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or news@elca.org http://www.elca.org/news ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog


Back to Immigrant Solidarity Network | More articles...
View all articles

Search news for 

Powered by Simplex Database
Brought to you by Aborior