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ICE No Longer Detaining Mothers & Children With 'Credible Fear'

This week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made an announcement that the agency will cease detaining migrant mothers and children who are able to show a credible fear of returning to their home countries.

The Obama administration has been the target of criticism, as many have disagreed with its controversial family detention policy. Amid pressure from immigrants’ rights groups, the ICE announced the changes after releasing hundreds of women and children from detention.

With the recent policy shift, the ICE will not be detaining mothers with children (absent a threat to public safety or national security) providing there is a positive finding of a credible fear and they can provide a verifiable residential address, said ICE spokesman Richard Rocha in a statement on Monday.

The women and children who are not detained will be released on their own recognizance, or they will be assigned a supervising officer to ensure that they report to their immigration hearings.

Nearly 200 mothers and children were released from detention over the weekend, and many of them were released with electronic ankle bracelets to track them until they attend their court dates.

The announcement came weeks after Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that the ICE was going to scale back long-term detentions of migrant families as a part of the agency’s changes to detention policies.

The U.S. currently has three family detention centers, two of which are located here in Texas. They will remain open for people caught at the border and for those who fail to pass their credible fear interviews.

There are around 2,000 families in detention today, with most of them in the 2,400-bed facility in Dilley, Texas, the ICE said in a statement on Monday.

Last summer, the number of Central American migrants crossing the Southwest border surged to crisis levels. To address the influx, the Obama administration responded by detaining migrant families.

Amid lawsuits and complaints of abuse and mistreatment by detainees, immigrants’ rights groups have heavily criticized the Obama administration for detaining women and children.

Immigrants’ rights advocates against family detention are thrilled that the administration has accepted that their treatment of women and children is wrong.

If you or a family member needs assistance with an immigration matter, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm to speak with an experienced Plano immigration attorney!