Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14073142 (posted Jul. 31, 2014)"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Washington, DC - According to documents obtained at the remote family immigration detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, the U.S. government is refusing to allow release on bond of Central American mothers and children who have fled the uncontrollable violence in their home countries, or is setting bonds so prohibitively high as to be meaningless. The new "bond" rule will be imposed even upon those individuals who have demonstrated a strong initial claim for protection and who have the right to a full hearing before an immigration judge.
“This bond rule approach is built around the excessively punitive policy imposed briefly in 2003 by immigration hardliners John Ashcroft and Kris Kobach. That approach has since been widely discredited, and largely discarded by this Administration. How is it, then, that bona fide refugees who need our assistance, are the ones for whom the Administration is dusting off this shameful policy?" asked Leslie Holman, President of AILA. “These women and their children are entitled to their day in court. They should be permitted to seek the comfort and stability of life outside a detention facility while they wait for a fair decision. The detention of families goes against the principles of fundamental fairness, human dignity, and family unity for which our nation is revered.” Holman added, “Study after study has shown that those who are found to have demonstrated a basis for relief will appear for a hearing. So why should the hardships of detention continue to be imposed upon these families at great expense to the government? The Central American families we are seeing today are voluntarily giving themselves up at the border, are affirmatively seeking protection, and have demonstrated at a preliminary government screening that they meet the threshold criteria for relief.”
New opinion polls indicate that the majority of Americans believe that the waves of children crossing into the United States from Central America are bona fide refugees fleeing persecution at home. Polls confirm public opinion that the United States should support these children while reviewing their cases and that they should not be deported immediately. “This is a humanitarian crisis that demands compassion. It is beyond belief that President Obama would support blanket refusal of this small form of relief. That is an approach that belongs in the worst of our past,” said Holman.
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.