AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

CARA: Coercion and Intimidation of Detained Mothers and Children Must Stop

9/30/15 AILA Doc. No. 15093005. Asylum, Detention & Bond, Removal & Relief

SAN ANTONIO, TX — Today, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), the American Immigration Council, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), partners in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, submitted the latest in a series of formal complaints to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG), affidavits recount instances where ICE officers:

  • Spread misinformation about the possibility of bond, such as telling incarcerated mothers that if they chose a bond hearing instead of an ankle monitor they would be detained for months and that CARA project volunteers were "lying" to them.
  • Actually removed a client from an ongoing consultation with a legal volunteer to attend a compulsory ICE meeting from which the volunteer was barred.
  • Threatened to withhold medical care to children unless the mother agrees to an ankle monitor.
  • Intimidated mothers into signing documents in English that they did not understand and refusing to let them consult with pro bono attorneys who could have advised them on the implications of what they were signing.

This mistreatment of an extremely vulnerable and traumatized group of mothers detained with their young children is appalling. These practices also directly interfere with a detained mother's right to counsel under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and federal regulations. CARA calls for immediate investigation of ICE's custody determination and release practices to ensure that they are free from coercion and systemic interference with detained mothers' rights to counsel and to fair process.

Press inquiries, please contact:
AILA: Belle Woods,, 202-507-7675
Council: Wendy Feliz,, 202-507-7524
RAICES: Mohammad Abdollahi,, 210-544-7811
CLINIC: Ashley Feasley,, 301-565-4831