The Frequently Asked Questions of Family Detention | LIRS
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The Frequently Asked Questions of Family Detention

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A devastating number of families fled violence in Central America throughout 2014. But instead of offering critical protection to these families, our government has confined them in detention centers. As family immigration detention continues to grow, LIRS’s actions have only become more courageous.

The FAQs below are a part of the inaugural issue of the Stand for Welcome Quarterly newsletter. Subscribe to receive the enewsletter and regular e-alerts here.

Q: Why are families detained?
A: The Department of Homeland Security maintains that the detention of families coming from Central America is necessary to deter other families from making the same journey;  however, in February 2015, a federal judge issued a temporary court injunction prohibiting using deterrence as a reason to detain immigrations. After that injunction, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reviewed each detained family on the basis of flight risk and risk to community safety.

The prospect of detention will not deter those who are fleeing for their lives and seeking safety for their children. Immigration detention has a very narrow purpose of ensuring that people facing deportation comply with court dates and court orders. Learn more through LIRS’s Family Detention Backgrounder.

Q: How much does it cost to keep families detained?
A: Current average costs for family detention is estimated at $343 per person per day or over $1,200 a day for a family of four.  This is far more expensive than traditional immigration detention, which is already a staggering $160 a day. A bill passed on March 3, 2015 to increase spending on family detention to $362 million annually, and to fund the detention of 3,732 mothers and children each day.

Q: What is the alternative to detention?
A:  There are many alternatives to detention, such as releasing individuals on their own recognizance, on parole, to a sponsor or family member in the United States, or to a community support program. Alternatives to detention that are currently used boast nearly perfect compliance rates and range in cost from only $.17 per day to $17.78 per day, per person. Laern more through LIRS’s Alternatives to Detention Backgrounder.

Send a message through the LIRS Action Center to urge your elected official to end the harmful and inhumane practice of family immigration detention.

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