Executive Order Keeps Families Together, But Jails Children and Families Indefinitely | LIRS
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Executive Order Keeps Families Together, But Jails Children and Families Indefinitely

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STATEMENT – Executive Order Keeps Families Together, But Jails Children and Families Indefinitely

For Immediate Release:
June 20, 2018

Danielle Bernard
dbernard@lirs.org; 410-230-2888

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an Executive Order announced today, President Trump signaled a halt to the practice of family separation, opting to implement indefinite family detention of children and families crossing the border between points of entry. Having vocally opposed the practice of family detention for more than a decade, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) remains deeply concerned about the well-being of children and families under the President’s new directive.

“While children will no longer be ripped from the arms of their parents for the sole purpose of deterring immigration, they will go to jail with their parents,” said Kay Bellor, Vice President for Programs at LIRS. “Jail is never an appropriate place for a child.”

Since 2004, LIRS has closely monitored the conditions in family detention centers and the findings are appalling. Detention traumatizes families, undermines the basic family structure, and has a devastating psycho-social impact on children.

Indefinite family detention presents a threat to basic family values and human dignity; furthermore it ignores the fundamental principles of family unity that call for individuals to be placed in the least restrictive setting and the right to be processed expeditiously.

LIRS is grateful for the powerful denunciation of family separation from communities of faith and the American public; this public outrage has slowed the practice of “zero-tolerance” family separation to a crawl. But our defense of family values within the immigration system cannot end here.

We call on our elected representatives to vocally oppose any form of detention for children and halt the practice of indefinite detention of families.


Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through nearly 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

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