• Press Release

ICE doubles down on detention to deter and punish families for seeking safety

October 27, 2020

Responding to the Department of Homeland Security statement regarding the pending Flores court decision, Denise Bell, the researcher for refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA said:

“The administration’s statement that the court is forcing its hand to separate families is pure disinformation. On the contrary, it is ICE’s actions that have contributed to this untenable situation. This administration has consistently acted to keep families detained, instead of releasing them together, which is well within its discretion to do. The government has sought a path fundamentally destructive of a child’s best interests and family unity by keeping families together through prolonged detention. ICE has the authority to release parents with their children, and has historically done so.  But now, it’s doubled down on detention simply to deter and punish families for seeking safety.

“The Department of Homeland Security flouts bedrock principles – the best interests of the child and family unity – so that it can continue to lock up families who came to this country to seek safety. This administration knows that it is well past time that they release families together but is deliberately choosing cruelty.

“The government’s protests that it is standing up for family unity is deceptive and a public relations move. ICE supports family unity only if it’s in detention. This is the same administration that implemented a policy and practice of forcible family separation in 2018 and yet now maintains it is an advocate of family unity. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the administration is as concerned about the welfare of these families as it claims, it should release families together immediately.”

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