Responding to the reopening of the Carrizo Springs, Texas detention facility for unaccompanied children, Denise Bell, the researcher for refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA said:
“A government agency is not a parent for children. The reality is that children who are alone need to be accommodated for their safety while the government identifies and reunites them with appropriate sponsors. We don’t want to endanger children and we don’t want them held in detention or in facilities that don’t meet their best interests.
“Kids need a place to call home – that’s why they should be with their families, friends, and community members; this in the child’s best interests. Children must not be held in Border Patrol stations, and certainly not for more than 72 hours, which are wholly inappropriate spaces for them, and they must continue to have access to safety in the United States. The Biden administration has inherited a system that holds unaccompanied children in temporary facilities and it will take time to move away from the system. It is important the administration limit their use and move quickly towards relying only on licensed facilities. Services in temporary facilities, like the permanent facilities, must include educational services, medical services, legal services, case management, clinicians, and services that support the security and health of the children.”
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 facilities to ICE family detention centers. People can read more about AIUSA’s recent work here.