This week, the border bill sponsored by Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) that was scheduled to be voted on in the House of Representatives has been tabled, ostensibly due to inclement weather. Saving our analysis of that bill for another day, we look instead to two events raising awareness of the tens of thousands of men, women, toddlers, and babies who spend their days and nights in immigration detention in the U.S.
First, you may have missed a briefing for Congressional offices last week, “Retraumatizing and Inhumane: Detaining Immigrant Survivors of Violence against Women and Children” that LIRS co-sponsored along with the bipartisan Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform and eight other coalition partner organizations.
At the well-attended briefing, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) called for an end to family detention. A former detainee of Artesia Family Residential Center who has now been granted asylum status, Archi Pyati, Director of Public Policy for the Tahirih Justice Center, and Dr. Gisele A. Hass, a Clinical Psychologist and expert in trauma-informed responses for immigrant survivors of violence, also attested to the harmful impact of detention on survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence.
This week the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hosts a briefing on “The State of Civil Rights at Immigration Detention Facilities.” The event will raise critical attention on immigration detention, including family detention. Panelists will focus on the standards of care at private detention facilities and the legal and civil rights concerns related to immigration detention. LIRS has long opposed the inhumane and often arbitrary practice of immigration detention as it is expensive, risks retraumatizing victims of trafficking or abuse, and prevents full and fair access to legal representation and information.
Instead, we push for humane and compassionate Alternatives to Detention (ATDs), like LIRS’s Community Support Initiative. To learn more about alternatives and the ways in which you can get involved, please visit http://lirs.org/alternatives-to-detention/ and read our newly updated report, “Locking Up Family Values, Again: The Continued Failure of Immigration Family Detention”.
If you feel called to do so, stand up against family detention through the LIRS Action Center. Be the voice for hundreds of women and children isolated in detention.
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