Congresswoman Diana DeGette

Representing the First District of Colorado
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DeGette: Limiting Family Detention is a ‘Vital First Step’

Jun 24, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON- U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-01) offered strong support for Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s decision to limit the detainment of mothers and children involved in deportation proceedings in jail-like facilities and called for an end to family detention altogether.

“Secretary Johnson took an important first step toward sufficiently considering the health and well-being of mothers and children,” said Rep. DeGette. “Allowing families that have shown their need for asylum or other relief under our laws to avoid long-term detention is both in line with our nation’s longstanding commitment to the well-being of refugees and an efficient use of our resources. I stand with the many families whose health and safety will be improved by these changes to our detention practices. It is clear that detaining mothers and children is not the answer. I will continue to fight for an end long-term family detention in our country.”

Secretary Johnson’s decision came after Rep. DeGette repeatedly joined more than 100 of her colleagues to call for an end to the Obama Administration’s policy of detaining mothers and children involved in deportation proceedings in jail-like facilities.

The first letter by Rep. DeGette and her colleagues detailed some of the most disturbing problems affecting vulnerable individuals being held by the department. DeGette also called for an end to the department’s policy to set a number of beds to always be occupied in detention facilities, which creates an incentive to detain individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety, and urged the department to end the use of immigration detainers. Most recently, Rep. DeGette joined with her colleagues to call for an end to the continued detention of mothers and children in secure, jail-like facilities. Their letter cited dozens of years of academic studies that show the serious adverse effects of long-term detention on families and children.