Washington, DC (TFC) – A federal judge ruled against the policy of locking up families who cross illegally into the United States in an attempt to flee violence in Central America.
“The American Civil Liberties Union filed the case on behalf of mothers and children who have fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the U.S. for safety. Each has been found by an immigration officer or judge to have a ‘credible fear’ of persecution, meaning there is a ‘significant possibility’ they will be granted asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security has been denying release of these families as part of an ‘aggressive deterrence strategy.’ In rejecting the U.S. government’s argument that detention of the women and children was necessary to prevent a mass influx that would threaten national security, the court wrote that the ‘incantation of the magic word ‘national security’ without further substantiation is simply not enough to justify significant deprivations of liberty.’”
Judge James E. Boasberg issued a 40-page decision that, in essence, stated the US policy of deterring refugees by locking mothers and children in detention centers is “likely unlawful.”
The policy has resulted in around 60,000 detentions of people who are attempting to flee systemic violence in their home country.