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June 21, 2015

CHN: Organizations Urge President Obama to End Family Detention

Last week, nearly 100 national advocacy organizations signed a letter to President Obama urging him to end the practice of detaining mothers and children who come to the U.S. fleeing violence in Central America. Since June 2014, the number of family detention beds operated by the Obama Administration has skyrocketed by 4,300 percent. 

Mothers and children seeking asylum are often victims of horrific sexual assault, intense physical violence, kidnaping and sex trafficking. Making matters worse are the deplorable family detention facilities they are being held in and the harm the children and their mothers are suffering while they wait for their cases to be heard. 

A very high percentage of the families who have the chance to tell their stories have been granted asylum or have been found to have a credible fear of persecution. Advocates stress that it is legal for families to seek asylum, that these families for years met their legal requirement without the harm of detention, and that locking up families who are fleeing violence is not the way the government should be responding.

The letter from advocacy organizations follows letters from 33 senators and 136 representatives to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that also called for the end to the practice of family detention. For more information, see this guest post from ACLU on CHN’s blog, Voices for Human Needs.

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