Democrats join fight to close immigration detention centers

Expansion Planned at Adelanto Detention CenterTwo-thirds of Democrats in the House of Representatives have put their names to a letter to the Obama administration calling for family detention centers to be immediately closed to prevent immigrant mothers and their children being held in harmful conditions.

Of the 199 Democrats in the House of Representatives, 136 signed the letter that was sent yesterday to Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson. The letter contains a strong protest about the continued detention of around 1,000 mothers and children inside three such centers located in Pennsylvania and Texas. There has been growing protest with regard to the prison-like conditions in the centers, in which some immigrant minors have been detained for over a year, which has now reached the upper levels of Congress.

Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi and the House party whip Steny Hower are among those who have put their names to the letter, accusing the White House of failing to fully understand the seriousness of the level of harm being inflicted upon the women and children imprisoned in the detention centers and stating that the only real solution to the issue is to close the centers altogether.

“In the past year we have learned of the detention of children with intellectual disabilities, a child with brain cancer, a mother with a congenital heart disorder, a 14-day-old baby, and a 12-year-old child who has not eaten solid food for two months,” the letter claims, describing conditions as “simply unacceptable”.