Detention of Central American Families Continues, and So Does the Fight in Court

by | Jan 20, 2016 | News

In late October, a federal district had ordered the government to bring its treatment of asylum-seeking families – Central American unaccompanied minors – into compliance with a 20-year old settlement agreement. It ordered that the children affected be released from detention without delay while the suit proceeds in court. Yet, DHS has failed to comply with the judge’s order, and children and families continue to be detained.  Other actions are now being pursued while the litigation continues with requests for expedited briefing.

In an action filed with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Office of Inspector General, the complainants detail serious obstacles indigenous language speakers face in procuring access to relief in family detention centers. The lack of adequate language services for such individuals has led to: wrongful deportations of families; extended delays in processing and lengthier detention for mothers and children; lack of informed consent by mothers and children to medical treatment; and the inability of children to meaningfully participate in school while detained. In yet another move to prod compliance, a law suit was filed in Texas that blocks Texas from licensing the family detention centers in Dilley and Karnes as child care facilities – Dilley and Karnes are the two main family detention facilities used by DHS.  A Texas judge issued a temporary injunction to block the state from fast-tracking the licenses.