• Press Release

At Opened Facility at Donna, Texas, the Best Interests of the Child Must be Respected

February 9, 2021

Responding to U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcing today the opening of a soft-sided facility in Donna, Texas, Denise Bell, the researcher for refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA said:

“Children should be in conditions that meet United States and international standards that support the best interests of the child. The Biden administration has inherited a system that holds children in facilities least appropriate for them and it will take time to move away from the system – what we must envision now is a system where detention is not assumed and the standard for families is freedom.

“While the Biden administration has inherited a system of placing children in CBP temporary facilities we want to see a future where children are free to be with their families and their communities. In the meantime, what children need most is access to education, medical care, legal services, and social services that is coupled with fair and just access to safety. Amnesty International USA will be monitoring developments to make sure the best interests of the children are respected.”

Background and context

Statement in Response to Closure of Tornillo Tent City (news, January 11, 2019)

Amnesty International USA’s visit to the Tornillo facility (video, October 26, 2018

A/V of Amnesty International USA’s visit to Carrizo Springs (July 24, 2019)

Plans to Close Carrizo Springs Demonstrate Conditions That are Not in Children’s Best Interests (July 23, 2019)

No Home for Children: The Homestead ‘Temporary Emergency’ Facility (report, July 17, 2019)

Amnesty International USA is focused on the treatment of children seeking safety in the U.S. wherever they are — from Customs and Border Protection facilities at the border, to Office of Refugee Resettlement facility shelters to ICE family detention centers. Learn about Amnesty International USA’s campaign to free people from detention here.

Media contact: Mariya Parodi, [email protected]