Report of the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers

Report of the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers

ICE, Sept. 30, 2016- "The detention of migrant children and families by the U.S. government has been controversial since its inception. Child and family detention has been the subject of a number of federal lawsuits – most notably, the Flores litigation (currently captioned Flores v. Lynch), filed in 1985 and still in active litigation. Since its inception, many reports by government agencies (including the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and various subunits of DHS), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the American Bar Association (ABA), and advocacy organizations have made similar and negative findings. In this report, the ACFRC adds our voice to those prior critiques. We offer numerous recommendations to improve detention management and conditions. But these should be understood in light of our basic conclusion and first recommendation, which is repeated and discussed in depth in Part I, below:

Recommendation 1-1: DHS’s immigration enforcement practices should operationalize the presumption that detention is generally neither appropriate nor necessary for families – and that detention or the separation of families for purposes of immigration enforcement or management, or detention is never in the best interest of children. DHS should discontinue the general use of family detention, reserving it for rare cases when necessary following an individualized assessment of the need to detain because of danger or flight risk that cannot be mitigated by conditions of release. ..."