TUCSON— This week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that they will release families with notice to appear before an immigration judge. In response, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued the following statement:
“Families do not belong in detention, but the Trump Administration’s decision to release families is far from well-intentioned. Releasing families with children in large groups directly from detention centers into unfamiliar locations—sometimes in the dead of night with limited information in a foreign language—is cruel and dangerous. I’m grateful for the humanitarian organizations that have stepped up to help these migrant families during their time of dire need.
“The spike in families fleeing violence and seeking asylum is a humanitarian crisis, and they have a right to seek protections at the border. Unfortunately, chronic understaffing of officers to process asylum seekers and an unwillingness by the Trump Administration to utilize alternatives to detention like the Family Case Management Program is creating a significant backlog. According to a report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, alternatives to detention are the safest, most cost-effective options for children and families. They help asylum seekers navigate the complexities of the immigration court system and ensure that over 99 percent of program participants attended their court hearing.
“Using families as political pawns, threatening to close the southern border, and declaring a fake emergency are no way to conduct policy. I will continue working with my colleagues on family-centered immigration solutions that tackle the root causes of turmoil in the Northern Triangle countries and ensure that asylum seekers are treated with compassion and dignity.”
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