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US detention centers prepare for the average migrants’ stay to increase from 10 to 50 days

August 24, 2019

TEXAS, 24 Aug. (DPA / EP) –

The head of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service said Friday during a visit to a Texas migrant family detention center that the federal agency was preparing for the average family stay to increase from 10 days to 50 days

Matthew Albence, who has visited a center approximately 145 kilometers from the border between Mexico and the United States, expects the Republican President Donald Trump Administration to launch a series of changes in detention centers that include medical and educational services to meet the needs of families as they stay longer.

The new US regulations, which will enter into force within 60 days, would allow the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service to detain families with children beyond the 20-day limit imposed by a 1997 judicial agreement, which governs the conditions of detention of migrant children.

ICE has not received additional funds to address the increase in family detentions. Given this situation, Albence has urged Congress to add 960 beds for these families and has announced that ICE is considering reforming a family detention center of approximately 700 beds built in 2014 in Karnes City, Texas, which since April has been used to accommodate migrant women.

On the other hand, he has clarified that his agency has no plans to build temporary family detention centers on military bases such as those built to house unaccompanied migrant children in Texas in the past.

According to data from the Department of Homeland Security, in the last four years, only 18 percent of immigrants released in the United States were complying with a court order to leave the country. The figure, however, rises to 97 percent in the case of those who were detained.

The last measure has been met with criticism by human rights organizations and also by the Democratic Party. The leader of this Senate formation, Chuck Schumer, has lamented that “the cruelty of the Trump Administration has no limit” and has accused the government of seeking to prolong the arrest of children in “horrible conditions” and of punishing innocent “families “.

Not all asylum-seeking families that arrive at the border will be detained in the long term once the new standard enters into force, as confirmed by the authorities. The executive director of the detention surveillance network, Silky Shah, has said that prolonged detention of migrant families “creates intense trauma. We are spending a lot of money to pay to private prison companies that are cutting costs at all levels “, has warned.

Trump himself has justified the reform as an “urgent humanitarian need,” in apparent allusion to the growing arrival of Central American migrants. “To protect children from abuse and stop the illegal flow, we must close the legal loopholes,” the president said in a statement.