• Press Release

Amnesty International Urges Biden Administration to Reject Detaining Migrant Families

March 7, 2023

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
Following a report in the New York Times that the Biden Administration is considering reinstating the practice of detaining migrant families, Amnesty International USA’s Americas Advocacy Director, Amy Fischer, issued the following statement:


“Amnesty International USA is profoundly concerned by these reports and reminds the Biden Administration of its promise to fully end family detention, a practice that is prohibited under international human rights law. ”


“Seeking asylum is a human right, and it is disappointingly clear that the Biden Administration is committed to subverting this moral and legal responsibility by embracing cruel policies aimed at deterring and punishing people attempting to exercise their human rights at the border. Detaining people solely on account of their immigration constitutes arbitrary detention, a violation of international law. And the detention of families violates the U.S.’s obligations toward the treatment of immigrant children. In fact, the detention of immigrant children, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, is prohibited in international law as it is not in their best interests.”


“Family detention is an inherently cruel practice that results in significant trauma for children. For the years in which family detention was a common practice in the United States, detained families were subjected to dismal conditions, abuse, and trauma. Any amount of detention can cause trauma in children, and can compound the trauma that many children have already faced in their home countries that they fled, and the dangerous journeys they take to the United States.”


“With the Biden Administration’s proposals for an asylum ban and now family detention, the cruelty is the point. Amid a global refugee crisis, the Administration is embracing racist, xenophobic policies that aim to make the exercise of seeking asylum so painful that individuals and families give up. The Biden Administration must reverse course and invest in systems of welcome rather than policies of hate and exclusion.”


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