Hispanic Caucus Demands DHS Release Children and Families Reportedly Being Detained Illegally
Some families are reportedly being held at an ICE detention center for more than 40 days despite the Flores Settlement Agreement, which says that children should generally be released from immigration detention after 20 days. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) is demanding that the Department of Homeland Security release those children and families. CHC Chair Joaquín Castro (D-TX) led 17 members on Friday in a letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting ICE Director Ronald D. Vitiello calling on them to work quickly to release all eligible families held at the Karnes Family Detention Center. Castro wrote that the majority of these vulnerable families are fleeing violence, persecution, and even death, and they had to make the difficult decision to leave their home countries and make the treacherous and dangerous trek to seek safety in the U.S. “As a result, some of these families and children need medical care and trauma services that cannot be effectively or adequately provided in detention or jail-like settings,” the lawmakers wrote. “We ask that DHS work quickly to release all eligible families and allow them to continue fighting their cases outside of detention. Further, we will continue investigating and requesting information to ensure that DHS is not violating Flores protections at Karnes and other detention facilities.” Prolonged family detention can cause irreparable harm to children and prevents families from accessing critical medical care not available at detention centers. Read the full letter here.