AILA Applauds 136 House Members Standing Up for America’s Values

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

CONTACTS:
George Tzamaras
202-507-7649
gtzamaras@aila.org
Belle Woods
202-507-7675
bwoods@aila.org

Washington, DC — Leslie A. Holman, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), applauded the 136 House members who joined together calling for an end to family detention in the following statement:

"These 136 House members, led by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), have taken a principled stance by calling for an end to family detention. AILA knows firsthand how life in detention is exacerbating the trauma that thousands of already-vulnerable women and children have suffered in their home countries. Instead of inflicting further harm on innocent children and their moms, our country should reaffirm our commitment to our values: protecting and sheltering the vulnerable, particularly children fleeing from violence.

"Calling out the Administration is not done lightly, but it is vital that the federal government understand that continuing this practice is immoral and inhumane. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced some changes relating to family detention policies, this letter rightly points out that those plans do not acknowledge the damage that even a brief stint in detention does to child development. Given the particularly vulnerable refugees fleeing violence and persecution in Central America, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decision to increase family detention rather than use alternatives seems morally reprehensible.

"AILA welcomes the efforts by these elected officials to do their part and bring the tragedy of family detention to light. This letter represents massive Congressional support to end the President's family detention practices. There are children with medical issues going without care, and as this letter so clearly states 'This is simply unacceptable. We cannot continue to hear reports of serious harm to children in custody and do nothing about it.' Family detention must end."

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15052704.