ACLU Comment on New Bill to Increase Jailing of Immigrant Families at the Border and Continue Family Separations

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WASHINGTON — Senator Ron Johnson introduced today a bill on the detention of immigrant families.

Under the bill, the Department of Homeland Security would self-inspect family detention facilities and would end a decades-old court ruling, known as the Flores settlement, that ensures Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s family jails are licensed to care for children and prohibits their indefinite jailing. Pediatricians and medical providers have said that overwhelming scientific evidence shows that even short-term jailing of children causes long-term and permanent psychological damage.

The bill would also make it easier to hire and retain Customs and Border Protection agents, instead of ensuring oversight and accountability after recent misconduct that has resulted in multiple deaths

Lorella Praeli, American Civil Liberties Union deputy political director, said:

“Sen. Johnson’s bill would bolster President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda by jailing families indefinitely, expanding prisons and deportation agents without accountability, and threatening children’s lives by eradicating hard-fought legal protections for their safety.  It would even give the government enormous leeway to continue separating families who should remain together. Senators must resoundingly reject this bill or face voters’ backlash in November.” 

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