Refugees, Asylees, and the US-Mexico Border
June 27, 2018
Hearts and Homes for Refugees joins faith groups, the National Parent-Teacher Association, and other organizations that keep the best interests of children at heart, in calling on the administration and the U.S. Congress to:
- take the necessary steps to immediately stop any zero-tolerance policy that may result in harmful separation of undocumented children from their parents or family members;
- immediately reunite families separated under current enforcement policy; and
- find humane, just and compassionate policy solutions for immigration.
We believe that a humane solution to an immigration policy must include a true end to family separations, the restitution of all separated children to their parents, and adequate psychosocial services to overcome the trauma. We believe that a humane solution will uphold the Flores Settlement Agreement that has governed U.S. action for the past 20 years, which requires that children be held in the “least-restrictive setting” possible and limits any detention to twenty days. We believe that a humane solution must preserve anti-trafficking protections as well as special protections for children in detention including suitable living conditions, routine medical care and emergency health services, recreation time and counseling services necessary for the well-being and healthy development of any child. And, we believe that a humane solution must allow for full consideration of asylum claims, including representation for minors and adequate time and access for asylum seekers to find an attorney and collect the needed evidence. (A process that lawyers estimate takes a year at minimum.) The U.S. has long been a beacon of hope and a place refuge for those fleeing persecution and violence. Hearts and Homes for Refugees strongly supports the acceptance of refugees and the consideration of asylum claims.
We urge all policy makers and influencers to vigorously support high-compliance, low-cost and humane solutions such as the Family Case Management Program. The current administration and the Department of Justice have expressed the desire to detain migrant families together for long periods, arguing that many families fail to show up for their hearings if released. The Family Case Management Program kept families together and out of detention, with a compliance rate of 99 percent and at a cost of $36 per person per day. Detaining and separating families is not just traumatic, it is also expensive: keeping families together can cost nearly $300 per person, per day, while detaining children separately from their parents can cost as much as $775 per child, per day.
This administration is not the first to react to migration surges by jailing children. Each time, the American public has said no. Each time, the federal government has responded to the American public and court rulings. Advocacy works. Last week, the outcry against family separation went global and the administration responded. But, the Executive Order did not offer any solution to the families that have already been separated, nor offer a pathway for legitimate asylum-seekers.
We must continue to make calls, send letters, write emails, sign petitions, and raise our voices until humane, just and compassionate solutions are found.
We are so grateful that you are with us. Together we are stronger.
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