Over the last year you have raised your voice to advocate for the end of family detention many times and today we see the effects of your efforts. One year since the Administration began dramatically increasing the placement of mothers and children seeking refuge in large-scale family detention facilities, the Department of Homeland Security announced it will begin releasing those vulnerable families who have presented a credible case that they have fled their home country out of fear for their lives. This will impact the overwhelming majority of families currently detained.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security admitted that family detention is an inefficient use of federal resources. LIRS has steadfastly maintained that the practice is also inhumane. Over 6,300 mothers and children have been held in government family detention facilities since July 2014; some families have now been detained for over a year. The vast majority of these families came to the United States seeking protection from violence and deserve a welcome reflective of the founding principles of our nation.
Yesterday’s announcement by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is a long awaited and very significant step in the right direction for vulnerable mothers and children seeking safety in our country. Those released as a result of this new policy have completed the first step in the legal process of applying for protection, and can now await and prepare for their day in court in a more humane setting.
Today we thank you for your commitment to ending this inhumane practice. While this is not the end of the fight, it is a victory on the road to freedom for these families. We must now stand ready to welcome and embrace our new neighbors. As Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
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As always, thank you for standing for welcome. We will share more information about how you can assist released families and continue advocating to end family detention in the days ahead.
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