Family Detention is Dangerous and Wrong

December 16, 2019 | National

Call us a broken record, or Sisyphus if you prefer, but we’ll say it again as a new threat looms: Families don’t belong in jail.

No, not even if tiny t-shirts replace prison uniforms.

No, not even if the detention center has a dodge ball court.

No, not even if parents are detained together with their children.

The New York Times reports that the Trump administration is currently redoubling its efforts to expand family detention. The administration has appealed a federal court’s rejection of its attempt to supplant legal protections for immigrant children in U.S. custody with new and problematic regulations. If the appeal is successful, the government would be able to detain families indefinitely.

Any amount of time is too long for children to be held in a prison-like detention center. The research is crystal clear on this. Detention harms children’s healthy development and ability to learn. It compounds the trauma children and families have already suffered in their home countries and causes physical and mental harm that can follow children throughout their path to adulthood and beyond.

What’s more, the family detention setting undermines the parent-child relationship by stripping parents of their agency to make decisions about their children’s care. From decisions related to diet and feeding to medical care and education, parents’ caregiving must take a backseat to DHS authority.

There is no safe way to detain children and families. This administration’s attempt to expand family detention is dangerous, and the Children’s Defense Fund will continue to fight its cruelty.

Read the full article here.