The US has a long history of detaining immigrant children and warehousing them in regimented, inhumane places that fail to meet their basic needs and violate constitutional law. They are forced to live in overcrowded, unsafe government facilities never designed to house children and denied access to adequate food or drinking water, educational services, adequate recreation, medical care or even basic hygiene like toothpaste or soap.
President Biden promised to end family detention, but right now, his Administration is considering returning to the use of this cruel practice.
Institutionalizing children, with or without their families, can cause lifelong damage. The irrefutable medical science around child brain development has not been enough to protect immigrant children from harm while detained by the US government.
We cannot afford to take backward steps when it comes to the well-being of children. If Biden reinstates family detention, it will inflict irreparable harm to children, potentially encouraging parents to send children alone across the border, further traumatizing them. Biden must keep his promise and work toward more compassionate immigration practices that prioritize children's needs.
As the President said himself, “This is pretty simple, and I can’t believe I have to say it: Families belong together.”