Advocates say It's 'difficult' to Celebrate ICE's Changed Policy on Detained Mothers

Jul 16, 2015

Immigrant Detention Centers in Texas are starting to release some mothers and their children. That's because Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson made some changes earlier this week to the way mothers and children are detained. KUT's Joy Diaz reports immigrant advocates are calling the changes a victory – though – a partial one.

Over the last 12 months immigrant advocates in Texas have marched, held press conferences, and filed lawsuits arguing there are flaws in the way detained immigrant mothers and their children are treated.

 Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch is an Austin Immigration Attorney. She may not be celebrating. But, she's pleased Secretary Johnson has ordered the bonds of detained mothers who prove they're candidates for asylum to be  lowered to affordable levels. No more $15,000 or $10,000 bonds. 

 "We've seen so much suffering over the last year – it's sort of difficult to celebrate when it took us so long to get us here," Lincoln-Goldfinch said. 

One thing that sours the news is that the women are not being treated as asylum seekers once they're released. 

"A lot of these women are being placed on ankle monitored bracelets but they are not being held in detention," she said.  

Another challenge is that detention centers have federal contracts and those contracts must be honored. Not only that, but Texas detention centers are expanding. So, with the release of the women, advocates fear there will be pressure on the Obama administration to – somehow – fill up these facilities.