In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, 136 House Democrats urged the Obama administration to stop locking up immigrant families.
“For nearly one year we have been closely following the troublesome conditions of confinement, due process issues, and serious developmental and medical concerns of those being detained,” the letter, which includes signatures from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, reads. “We believe the only solution to this problem is to end the use of family detention.
“We believe it is undeniable that detention in a secure facility is detrimental to mothers and children and is not reflective of our values as a nation,” the letter, signed on Wednesday, continues. “Children require special protections and should not be placed in jail-like settings.”
Though the Obama administration mostly ended family detention in 2009, it was reintroduced last year after thousands of unaccompanied minors and a large number of mothers and their children crossed the border illegally.
Presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the issue of family detention during a speech in Nevada earlier this month.
“I think we could do a better job if we paid attention to people who have a record of violent behavior,” she said. “I do not think we should put children and vulnerable people into the facility because they think they are at risk, their physical and mental health are at risk.”
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