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Responding to reports that the Department of Health and Human Services will not renew its contract with Comprehensive Health Services in the Homestead detention center in Florida, Denise Bell, researcher for refugee and migrant rights, said:

“While this is a step in the right direction, no child should be held in detention because of their immigration status. The Office of Refugee Resettlement has argued that unaccompanied children don’t need to released within 20 days – the national standard for detention.  This is unacceptable. A child is a child and children deserve to be free and with their families.”

Background

In July, Amnesty International USA concluded in its report, “No Home for Children: The Homestead ‘Temporary Emergency’ Facility” that, contrary to legal obligations, the U.S. was violating the rights of children by holding them at Homestead for longer than the 20 day limit provided under national legal standards and in circumstances that amounted to indefinite detention.

Last week, Amnesty International USA published a new briefing, No Home for Children: End the Contract to Operate the Homestead ‘Temporary Emergency’ Facility, which exposed how Comprehensive Health Services has contributed to the U.S. government’s violations of the rights of unaccompanied children, who are held in prolonged and indefinite detention at Homestead. The briefing concluded that, by running the center and providing core services, the for-profit company is enabling the government to detain children at Homestead. Amnesty International USA called on Comprehensive Health Services to end its operations at the Homestead detention center.

 

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