HIAS Welcomes DHS Shift on Family Detention

WASHINGTON, D.C. – HIAS welcomes the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that women who establish they fear persecution in their home countries and are therefore eligible to apply for asylum will no longer be held in detention with their children. DHS also announced it would review cases of families currently in detention, release those that have established credible or reasonable fear of persecution, and increase the use of alternatives to detention, which are not only more humane for the asylum seeker but are less expensive then locking up families. The organization issued the following statement:

“HIAS believes that families should not be detained. For asylum seekers, detention can exacerbate existing trauma. Locking up asylum seekers also reduces access to resources such as legal counsel that can help asylum seekers successfully present their claims. Asylum seekers should not be punished with detention for simply trying to reach a safe place.

“HIAS, the Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, supports policies that fulfill the Torah’s mandate the ‘welcome the stranger.’ America has been defined by its generosity toward those seeking safety from persecution. Policies that respect the rights and dignity of asylum seekers and the integrity of families are in keeping with Jewish and American history, values, and traditions.”

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