Press Releases

Contact: Michele Kayal
Phone: 703-919-8778

Reviving family detention will hurt children

Children of Immigrants

Advocate urges changes to the system instead

On the recently reported news that the Biden Administration is considering reviving the policy of detention for migrant families, First Focus on Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement:  

“’Dismayed’ is the only word that captures our response to President Biden’s reported consideration of reviving the cruel policy of imprisoning entire families. President Biden came into office promising a more humane immigration system. We are deeply frustrated to find ourselves once again highlighting just how dangerous detention is for children — a danger inflicted on thousands of children across multiple Administrations. If President Biden augments his proposed asylum ban with jail time for families, we fear for the health and well-being of all children seeking safety in our midst, and for the American values that have made this country a welcoming place for those fleeing persecution.

Rather than jailing children and families or subjecting them to electronic surveillance, our government should provide them with holistic services that meet their social and emotional needs and help them navigate the immigration system. These types of services not only protect the physical and mental health of children and those caring for them, they are extremely cost-effective and increase due process for families. Our government already has access to child-focused border solutions that are orderly, reasonable and good for children. The only thing we lack is the political will to put them in place.”