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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Report of the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released a report of the DHS Advisory Committee on the use family residential centers, a.k.a. deportation interment camps for children.

From the introduction to the report:

Prompted by controversy over DHS’s policies and practices relating to family detention, Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the establishment of the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers (ACFRC or the Committee) on June 24, 2015.

Secretary Johnson explained that:

ICE Director Saldaña and I understand the sensitive and unique nature of detaining families, and we are committed to continually evaluating it. We have concluded thatwe must make substantial changes to our detention practices when it comes to families.

Among the responses he announced was the formation of this Committee, “to advise Director Saldaña and me concerning family residential centers.” The Committee’s charter confirms a broadscope for our advice-giving:

The Committee provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Assistant Secretary for U.S.Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on matters concerning ICE’s family residential centers as it relates to primary education, immigration law, physical andmental health, trauma-informed services, family and youth services, detention management, and detention reform.

And similarly, our March 2016 tasking directed the ACFRC to:

Develop recommendations for best practices at family residential centers that will build on ICE’s existing efforts in the areas of educational services, language services, intake and out-processing procedures, medical staffing, expansion of available resources and specialized care, and access to Legal Counsel . . . Detail mechanisms to achieve recommended efficiencies in the following focus areas:1) educational services . . . 2) language services . . . 3) detention management . . .4) medical treatment . . . 5) access to counsel.

The recommendations include:

DHS’s immigration enforcement practices should operationalize the presumption that detention is generally neither appropriate nor necessary for families – and that detention or the separation of families for purposes of immigration enforcement or management, or detention is never in the best interest of children. DHS should discontinue the general use of family detention, reserving it for rare cases when necessary following an individualized assessment of the need to detain because of danger or flight risk that cannot be mitigated by conditions of release. If such an assessment determines that continued custody is absolutely necessary, families should be detained for the shortest amount of time and in the least restrictive setting possible; all detention facilities should be licensed, nonsecure and family-friendly. If necessary to mitigate individualized flight risk or danger, every effort should be made to place families in community-based case-management programs that offer medical, mental health, legal, social, and other services and supports, so that families may live together within a community.

Click here to read more of their report.

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Updated 10-04-2016 at 09:51 AM by MKolken

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