AILA: Administration’s Shell Game Doesn’t Change the Need to End Inhumane Family Detention

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

Washington, DC — Crystal Williams, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) responded to the recent announcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that the temporary facility in Artesia, NM, which is used to detain hundreds of women and children fleeing persecution, will be replaced by a massive permanent facility in Texas:

"The Administration is playing more games with the lives of women and children fleeing violence. This time it's a shell game moving people from one jail to another without regard for their well-being or human rights. There is no indication that the Administration is slowing down the massive escalation of family detention. Far from it, since ICE is opening a massive permanent facility in Dilley, Texas, run by a private prison company, that will have a capacity of 2,400 beds, becoming the largest immigration detention facility of any kind nationwide.

"All this does is move the shame of detaining children and their mothers to a different state without solving a single problem. It has already been established that the vast majority of these families are eligible for asylum. Indeed, every mother and child in Artesia who has had a full hearing before an immigration judge so far has been granted asylum. It is simply cruel to continue to imprison people fleeing persecution, and doubly cruel to warehouse them in a mass prison like what is planned in Dilley.

"When will this Administration stop treating families like cattle and give them the humanitarian protection they deserve as asylum seekers? With this move, the only guarantee is that more of the most vulnerable people fleeing violence will be returned to danger without a fair shot at obtaining asylum in the U.S. Whether in Dilley or elsewhere, the government will continue to try to railroad these women and their children out of the country and back to the danger from which they fled.

"What does moving them to Dilley really accomplish? The Administration must stop using smoke and mirrors to mask its continued lack of concern for the due process rights of asylum seekers and refugees."


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. 14111800.