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CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project Files Complaint with DHS

March 31, 2016 (1 min read)

CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, Mar. 28, 2016 - "We submit this complaint to register our ongoing concern regarding the detention of traumatized mothers and children in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) family detention centers.  On June 30, 2015, the American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Women’s Refugee Commission submitted a complaint to the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), which included evaluations by mental health professionals and sworn declarations documenting in detail the traumatic psycho-social effects of detention in the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) in Dilley, Texas; the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas, the Berks Family Residential Center in Leesport, PA, and the now closed Artesia Family Residential Center in Artesia, NM.  The CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project submits this second complaint to further document our concerns with the detention of traumatized mothers and children. ... The eight cases included herein continue to demonstrate that many detained families suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression or other emotional or cognitive disorders.  They represent an extremely vulnerable population for which detention is rarely appropriate.  Numerous studies show that the negative mental health consequences of detention are particularly acute for children, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable populations.  Detention re-traumatizes survivors of violence4 and sharply limits access to legal counsel and mental health services.  Experts confirm that detention poses risks to children’s health that can be immediate and long-lasting.  These cases also demonstrate the ways in which fast-track removal processes, to which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) currently subjects all children and their mothers in family detention centers, are dangerously inadequate to ensure access to protections under U.S. law."