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It Is Time to Hold DHS Accountable for Horrific Immigration Detention Conditions

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Congress Begins Hearings on the Facts, Not the Falsehoods

Amid a new NBC News report of children being sexually assaulted and retaliated against by border officials in immigration detention, the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee will hold a hearing today on the abhorrent conditions in immigration detention that, in some cases, have led to death and serious illness of children. Witnesses scheduled to testify will describe what they saw during visits, tours, and interviews with children and adults in detention, including testimony by one mother who was formerly detained with her 19-month-old daughter. Witnesses include:

  • Yazmin JuárezA mother of a toddler who died shortly after being detained in a family detention center run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • Clara Long DeputyAn attorney with Human Rights Watch who was part of a legal team that interviewed children about inhumane conditions in a Clint facility.
  • Hope FryeAn attorney with a long history protecting children from horrific detention conditions and who has visited various detention facilities.
  • Dr. Carlos A. Gutierrez, M.D. F.A.A.P. – A pediatrician who describes poor to non-existent medical care in detention centers.
  • Michael Breen – The President and CEO of Human Rights First, an organization that has long tracked the detention of asylum seekers and conditions in immigration detention.

Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch and former USCIS Chief Counsel, said: “Multiple reports by the Inspector General of DHS, first-hand testimony from attorneys who have represented children, families, and adults in detention, and teams of legal and medical experts have described horrific conditions in detention at the border and beyond. This Congressional hearing is a welcomed first step in holding DHS accountable for these abhorrent conditions, especially given this administration’s insatiable desire to lock up more and more children, families, and adults and the ever-increasing detention budget appropriated by Congress.”  

David Leopold, Counsel to DHS Watch, Chair of Immigration at Ulmer & Berne and former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said:  “A year ago the world recoiled in horror as graphic images of Trump’s brutal child separation policy went viral. Now we learn that the Trump administration has locked up children, toddlers and families in squalid conditions, without toothbrushes or soap and forced to drink water from toilets. The Congressional hearing is a critical first step toward imposing the rule of law on the lawless Trump Administration and putting an end to its savage assault on migrant children and families in detention.”