Last week, we rejoiced as three of our youngest clients' fathers who were detained were brought to Michigan for reunification and released. It was our challenge but also our privilege to identify volunteer attorneys for their parents and identify community volunteers to arrange for the families' immediate material needs. We were prepared for the pattern to continue throughout this month.
However, documents filed in court yesterday in the Ms. L v. ICE case indicate that the government does not plan to send more detained parents to Michigan for reunification and release. Instead, detained parents and children will reunited in one of eight designated detention facilities in other states. Even after our clients are moved out of state, MIRC will continue to strongly advocate for their right to have their detention in these facilities limited to 21 days by advocating for their release with their families. But, if the Trump Administration intends to indefinitely detain these families as it indicated in its Executive Order, that will create a second government-manufactured separation crisis. This is unacceptable. These families should be released. The Trump administration has already shut down "alternatives to detention programs" for families, including the extremely successful Family Case Mangement program, which had a 99 percent effectiveness rate — meaning almost every single person enrolled in the program showed up for all immigration appointments and court hearings. Programs like Family Case Management are the only humane solution (and they also have far lower costs).
Families pursuing safety and freedom in the United States of America should not be forced to choose between being together and having their children live in a jail.