06.24.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Changes to the Administration’s Family Detention Practices

[Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment Wednesday after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced changes to the administration’s practice of detaining immigrant families and children.  Senator Leahy has urged the administration to end its family detention policy, which was reinstated last summer in response to the increase in unaccompanied children and families arriving at the southern border.] 

“The practice of detaining immigrant families and children is wrong, and it conflicts with America’s values.  That is why I have urged the Department of Homeland Security to end this practice, and why I welcome today’s announcement.  By taking small steps to scale back this bad policy, the administration is acknowledging the reality that a large number of the women and children in prolonged detention are bona fide asylum seekers that have come to the United States fleeing extreme violence and persecution in Central America.  Vulnerable asylum seekers should not be treated like criminals.  I am cautiously optimistic about the changes announced today, but they must be implemented quickly and only as a first step toward ending the misguided policy of family detention.”

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