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Biden Must Shelve Plans to Revive Family Detention

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Mar 07, 2023

In response to reports that the Biden administration is considering reinstating the inhumane practice of family detention, Professor Karen Musalo, Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), provided the following statement:

Refugee families fleeing persecution should not be locked up. They have a legal right to seek asylum at our border. Punishing them for exercising that right is deeply harmful, and flies in the face of our laws and treaty obligations to refugees. Under the Obama administration, I served on an expert advisory committee to the Department of Homeland Security on the practice of family detention. Our foremost recommendation was that detention is—in the clear majority of cases—not appropriate and never in the best interest of children. We unanimously called on the agency to instead invest in community-based case management services to support families as they pursue their legal claims.”

“On the campaign trail, President Biden agreed with us. It is profoundly disappointing that his administration would even consider reviving such an inhumane and immoral policy. As with so many other anti-asylum measures by this administration, it appears to be yet another cowardly attempt to appease anti-immigrant constituencies, a foolish political calculus that has never paid off for this president. The administration must immediately shelve this plan.”