The children left behind: Dad's deportation lands son in foster care
(Deseret News, 2011)
Disappearing Parents: A Report on Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System
(Southwest Institute for Research on Women and the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program, 2011)
(Huffington Post, 2012)
Migration: Too Many Migrant Children Locked Up
(IRIN News, 2012)
It's Time for a New Approach in Handling Immigrant Children
(by Jessica Jones, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Detention and Asylum Program, 2012)
Imagine a family traveling thousands of miles on foot, by bus - or whatever means available - fleeing persecution and violence, seeking asylum and protection across U.S. borders. Families who make the long and dangerous journey to the United States are in search of the freedom and security not found in their home countries. But instead of finding liberty and justice on American soil, many families were locked inside a former prison.
Inside the T. Don Hutto detention center, families were locked in prison cells, surrounded by institutional green walls. Family members were often separated from each other. Children had no stuffed animals or toys and only one hour of schooling per day. With only 20 minutes to eat their meals, children often went hungry.
Dominica* is a Honduran asylum seeker detained with her two children at Hutto. Nelly is nine years old and Alice is three. At night they all sleep together in the bottom bunk of their jail cell because they are afraid. Nelly says,
"If you are not good, they will take you away from your mom."
Thankfully, in August 2009, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the agency would no longer detain families at Hutto. Our advocacy on the issue played a significant role in its closure.
*Names have been changed to protect women and children
The Women's Refugee Commission was established in 1989 to address the particular needs of refugee and displaced women and children.
The Women's Refugee Commission is affiliated with and is legally part of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and does not receive direct financial support from the IRC.