A letter was sent to the Department of Homeland security’s Inspector General and Officer for Civil Rights and Liberties by three immigration advocacy groups.
According to the letter, nine infants below a year old, one of whom was only five months old, are being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The letter says that the infants are being detained at a detention center in Texas, the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
The American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network came together for the letter, calling on immigration officials to “intervene immediately on behalf of this uniquely vulnerable population.”
According to the letter, one of the nine infants has allegedly been detained for almost a month (twenty days).
The immigration advocates compiling the letter claim there has been an “alarming increase” in the amount of infants held in ICE custody. The advocates also have “grave concerns” regarding the level of medical care available at the Texas detention center, calling for the families of these infants to be released on bond during the litigation of their immigration cases.
The letter states, “ICE is required to meet basic standards of care for minor noncitizens in its custody…It [ICE] repeatedly has demonstrated an inability to do so.”
Detailing the advocates concerns, the letter furthers, “Advocacy groups have long documented the limited access to adequate medical care in family detention centers…concerns include lengthy delays in receiving medical attention and lack of appropriate follow-up treatment.” The advocates are especially concerned that Dilley is an hour out from san Antonio, “the nearest major metropolitan center with facilities equipped to provide specialized medical services.”
As the letter reminded, the Department of Homeland Security-ICE’s Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers has long “admonished the detention of young children, even for brief periods of time.”
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