For Immediate Release: July 31, 2015
Human Rights Alliance for Children and Refugee Families
Refugee Families Deserve Real Freedom:
NO to REFORMS, BONDS, DEGRADING ANKLE MONITORS AND AGGRESSIVE MONITORING BY ICE
August 2014, exactly a year ago, a nightmare began for thousands of mothers and their children when the Obama administration incarcerated them in family detention centers. These families were deprived of their freedom, some close to a year. Families underwent further trauma from being detained, children lost weight and were denied basic psychological and health services. Despite a judges order to release families, many continue to languish in detention, unknown to them when they will gain their freedom. Under international law, these families should have NEVER been incarcerated in the first place and all of them should be released immediately on their own recognizance.
On July 24th Judge Dolly Gee ordered the release of children and their mothers from family detention. We applaud Judge Gee’s decision and call on the Obama administration to not appeal Judge Gee’s decision. We call on the administration to immediately release all the families at Berks, Karnes and Dilley Detention Centers, stop detaining families at the border and put an END to the practice of family detention once and for all. Migrant and refugee family detention is immoral and goes against previous conventional law as stated above.
High bonds and ankle monitors are inhumane and unreasonable. In the last weeks, we have witnessed an increase in the release of families, but several of these families have been released on high bonds. A family of two, a refugee mother and 2 year old daughter seeking asylum from El Salvador who were incarcerated for 11 months at Karnes, were released on a $10,000 bond. The mother passed her credible fear interview on August 2014, but was denied bond on several occasions until recently. It took the family tremendous effort to raise $10,000 to gain their freedom and could have remained detained. Recently, ICE has also placed an ankle monitor on this mother. Most asylum seeking families come from impoverished families in Central America and should be treated with dignity and fairness, and should not be subjected to this form of punishment for seeking asylum in the United States. .
The use of ankle monitors, high bonds, and aggressive monitoring on refugee mothers is undignifying and the Obama administration should refrain from their use. Mothers continue to live without their freedom as a result of ankle monitors that need to be worn at all times, charged every 5 hours and that shocks them periodically. Several moms are also having to check-in with ICE on a weekly basis and ICE has shown up to their homes without notice. With this excessive monitoring, they are unable to integrate into US society and lead normal lives after being incarcerated with their children. Asylum seeking mothers are not security threats nor are they flight risks–their fundamental goal is to remain in the US and ensure their ability to gain asylum.
As stated by a refugee mother who is currently wearing an ankle monitor, “We suffered 11 months at Karnes, we suffered illnesses that went untreated, we’ve paid ICE a high bond for our freedom, we followed the laws of turning ourselves into authorities at the port of entry, and now they have us with ankle monitors, this is a tremendous injustice done against us.”
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