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Action Alert: Stop the Detention of Families

July 22, 2014

via Grassroots Leadership: Drawing by a child who was held at the Hutto Family Detention Center.

This week the House and Senate will be addressing President Obama’s supplemental request for $3.7 billion in response to the increase of women and children seeking refuge at the border. As part of the package, the Administration has requested an expansion to 6,300 detention beds, which will include family detention centers to hold women and children behind bars. Expansion has already started in New Mexico and Texas and is expected to continue in the coming weeks.

Help stop the needless incarceration of families and children by calling your member of Congress TODAY and telling them Congress should not fund family detention.

What You Can Do to Stop the Expansion of Family Detention

1. Call your Senators and Representative.

Script: My name is _____ calling from _____. As a constituent, I oppose funding for the expansion of immigrant family detention in the President’s supplemental request to Congress. There is a horrific history of family detention in the U.S. Families held in DHS custody are seeking protection from violence, trafficking, and domestic violence and detention should not be an option. Children require specialized medical, educational, and legal support that detention facilities cannot provide. The President’s request seeks $879 million in funding for approximately 6,300 additional detention beds, which will include the expansion of family detention.

Background: In 2009, the Administration ended the use of family detention at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Texas. Hutto was the subject of a lawsuit and major media attention after reports by advocates over abusive and unsanitary conditions. These reports included children wearing prison uniforms, being held in prison cells with open-air toilets, and being threatened with alarming disciplinary punishments, including separation from their parents if they cried too much or played too loudly. Medical treatment was inadequate and children as young as one lost weight.

We encourage you to schedule a meeting (either in DC or in the district office) to follow-up after your call.

2. Educate your Senator and Representative by sharing our Family Detention Backgrounder [PDF].

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