TAKE ACTION: Urge Members of Congress to Prevent the Administration from Reinstating Family Detention

March 16, 2023

On March 07, 2023, a New York Times report exposed that the Biden Administration is planning to “turn to increasingly restrictive measures as his administration prepares for the end of Title 42” and is now considering the reinstatement of family detention in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) facilities to deter asylum seekers from seeking safety at the U.S. southern border. The practice, which in spirit runs counter to the legal right to seek asylum, is cruel, hurtful, and ineffective as a immigration policy. Any attempt to reinstate this barbaric policy betrays the role of the United States as a global leader on migration.

Family detention—and immigrant detention in DHS custody—is immoral and wrong. Family detention serves as a punitive deterrence mechanism that undermines our moral obligations to welcome. Immigration detention facilities across the country have demonstrated a long and disturbing record of abuse and mistreatment — and have caused significant psychological damage to children, where many show signs of trauma after being detained. 

It is critical that Congress ensures every family seeking safety remains together and free from immigrant detention. Join us in urging Members of Congress to denounce family detention and hold the administration accountable to fully restore all asylum protections, particularly for families seeking protections. The United States should dedicate resources to protect the vulnerable, not persecute them.

Contact Your Two Senators and One Representative Today!
On the right-hand side, you can send an email to your Members of Congress.

Sample Email/Script: “I’m your constituent from [city/town] and [a faith leader/refugee leader/community member]. I urge you to denounce any efforts that would resume family detention in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) facilities. I call on you to hold the administration accountable to instead, fully restore all asylum protections—including for immigrant families and children—reduce funding for immigration detention, and invest in community-based alternatives.

Family detention—and immigrant detention in DHS custody—is immoral and wrong. Detaining children and their parents is a cruel and punitive approach toward vulnerable families seeking a safe place to call home. Family detention centers have a well-documented history of abusive conditions, including inadequate medical and mental health care, lack of access to water and other necessities, and inappropriate disciplinary tactics including threats to separate families. Medical experts agree that detention is harmful and causes toxic stress and life-long trauma for children, regardless of the duration of stay. UN experts have stated that while “family unity needs to be preserved at all costs, it cannot be done at the expense of detaining entire families with children. Family-based alternatives to deprivation of liberty must be adopted urgently.”

It is equally important to reject any attempt to push families through the new expedited removal process laid out in the recently proposed asylum ban rule during their 20 days in family detention. Turning away asylum seekers, family separation, and family detention wrongfully violate our moral and legal obligations to welcome those fleeing violence and persecution. I urge you to call on the administration to reverse course on the proposed asylum ban rule. My community welcomes all families seeking safety, and I urge you to do the same.

Additional Actions: 

  1. Amplify on Social Media: Amplify this message on social media using the sample social posts below and these graphics
    1. Family detention is inhumane and goes against our nation’s values. We MUST ensure that all families have the opportunity to live in safety and thrive.
    2. Family detention has never been the answer, and it’s not the answer now. Detention is inhumane, costly and unnecessary. Let’s uphold the U.S.’s legacy of welcome and welcome our neighbors with dignity.
    3. Calling all members of Congress: we must restore asylum protections and prevent the Biden administration from reinstating family detention! ALL people deserve to live in safety and dignity.
  2. Submit a Public Comment: Urge the Biden administration to rescind its latest asylum ban! Send a public comment by March 27, 2023 and see our action alert for more information.
  3. Faith Organizations: Sign this letter Urging the Biden-Harris Administration to Reconsider Reinstating Family Detention by EOD, Wednesday, March 22nd. 


Thank you for taking action, and please share widely with your networks!