MEDIA ADVISORY FOR
July 27, 2020
USCRI Statement on Media Reports of Child Detention Hotels
Arlington, VA— The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) is deeply concerned by credible reporting that the Department of Homeland Security has allowed a private contractor to detain immigrant children in hotels, in some cases for weeks. The safety of children seeking refuge in the U.S. is of paramount importance to USCRI, and, if confirmed, the practice would constitute a gross violation of established child-welfare standards and our immigration laws.
USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash said, “I am deeply troubled by these reports. Federal law recognizes that unaccompanied immigrant children are especially at risk of trafficking and other threats. By law, children should be discharged into the care and custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement for placement in licensed shelters staffed by childcare professionals.
“As former Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, I know that it is crucial for the well-being of children that they be placed in a professional, least restrictive setting that is in the best interests of the child shelters—especially in the midst of a global pandemic.”
The legal framework for the care of unaccompanied immigrant children has stood for more than two decades and includes the Flores settlement and the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. This framework should guide every decision about unaccompanied immigrant children, and it does not include the use of hotels or the extended custody by law-enforcement personnel.
USCRI requests that the Inspector General Department of Homeland Security conduct a thorough investigation of these flagrant violations of established immigration laws.
For more information contact:
Annette Sheckler (571) 289-1731 or firstname.lastname@example.org