AILA: 33 Senators Call for an End to Family Detention

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

Washington, DC — Leslie A. Holman, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), commended 33 members of the United States Senate for their forceful call for an end to family detention in the following statement:

"Today, thirty-three Senators from states across our nation have directly condemned family detention, saying that 'the prolonged detention of asylum-seeking mothers and children who pose no flight risk or danger to the community is unacceptable and goes against our most fundamental values.' AILA cannot agree more; hundreds of our members have fought for the children and their mothers detained after tumultuous escapes from violence and fear. They've seen the worry mount in a mother's eyes as her child's weight dwindles and first steps or first words are experienced behind fences and among guards. Nearly 90% of the families held by ICE are found to have valid claims to asylum and it is anathema to our country's core principles to continue to lock these bona fide refugees away.

"With last week's House letter sent by 136 members and now this from the Senate, the message from the Hill is overwhelming: DHS must stop detaining families. Nearly three-quarters of the Members of Congress from the President's own party have now called on the Administration to end this shameful practice. Isn't it time for him to listen?

"The signatories to both the Senate and House letters rightly criticized the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announcement on family detention as just not enough. I guess they couldn't quite call it what it really is - 'lipstick on a pig' - as I said of that announcement.

"The barriers to due process that AILA volunteers have encountered at every detention facility only underscore what needs to happen: family detention must end. ICE should explore alternatives to detention to offer these families the best chance at having their day in court without barriers to counsel, without the trauma that detention brings, and without the constant fear that these families are suffering under each and every day. I thank the Senators and House leaders for speaking up against this inhumane practice and speaking for the most vulnerable among us."


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. 15060203.