The US takes a step against holding immigrant families at ICEs

US immigration agency ending family detention

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stated that family detention centers are now being transformed into short-term facilities from where detained families will be released within 72 hours. The news of this statement from ICE followed reports of unaccompanied children being kept in detention for over 72 hours at the US-Mexico border.

This decision is observed as the end of ICE’s policy of detaining families of immigrants who arrive at the US border illegally. This policy was introduced in 2014 by the Obama administration.

The Trump administration tried to extend this policy for which families were going to be held for over 20 days. As of now, only 13 families are being held by ICE. 7 of these families were scheduled to be released on March 5, 2021. The release of the families was to be decided based on their COVID-19 test results.

ICE operates 3 family detention centers under the Biden administration: 2 in Texas and 1 in Pennsylvania. As per the latest information, all the families in the Pennsylvania center have been released. This center will no more be used for detention purposes.

The remaining 2 centers in Texas will be converted to short-term centers. These measures have been achieved after a long battle against jailing a family, especially children in any ICE facility. The legal battle in support of human rights will urge the US government to stop the practice of family detentions entirely. This will only come true if DOHS cancels its contracts with family detention centers currently running in Texas.

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ICE – US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

DOHS – Department of Homeland Security

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