Despite a recent report indicating that the vast majority of the Central American families who illegally entered the U.S. last year seeking asylum failed to appear in court, the Obama administration says it is further reducing family detention.
“I have reached the conclusion that we must make substantial changes in our detention practices with respect to families with children,” Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson said Wednesday. “In short, once a family has established eligibility for asylum or other relief under our laws, long-term detention is an inefficient use of our resources and should be discontinued.”
According to Johnson, who recently visited the Karnes, Texas detention facility, DHS is already taking steps to relax family detention policies including: evaluating the potential release for families detained beyond 90 days, ending the use of “general deterrence” as a factor for detention, appointing a Federal Advisory Committee to advise on family centers, and ensuring families’ access to counsel and other services.