Family Detention

Through our work with the Dilley Pro Bono Project, we provide access to counsel for mothers and children detained together at the nation’s largest family detention center. Read about our advocacy work highlighting why family detention is unnecessary and harmful to families, and why it must be halted entirely.



#NoBabiesBehindBars Campaign on Behalf of Detained Infants Goes Viral

Our complaint demanding the immediate release of infants under the age of 1 detained in Dilley was immediately picked up by news outlets across the country including CBS, HuffPost, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian. Hillary Clinton then tweeted out the CBS coverage to her 24.2 million followers. Senators Jeff Merkley, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and others spoke out. As of March 4, 2019, 15 of the 16 detained babies have been released with their mothers.
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Complaint Urges Immediate Release of Infants from Detention

February 28, 2019

On February 28, 2019, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the American Immigration Council, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC) filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) calling for the immediate release of numerous babies under the age of 1 - and some as young as six months old - detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) in Dilley, Texas. The complaint highlights concerns over the lack of specialized medical care available in Dilley for this vulnerable population, and cites long-documented limited access to adequate medical and mental health care in family detention centers.
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Letter Urges Secretary Nielsen to End the Migrant Protection Protocols Policy

February 6, 2019

The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. sent a letter to DHS Secretary Nielsen on February 6, 2019 documenting the harm that families served by the Dilley Pro Bono Project have faced on the other side of the southern border – and demanding a reversal of the Migrant Protection Protocols.
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Congressional Letter Calls for the Immediate Release of Family Detained in Dilley, Texas

January 10th, 2019

On January 10th, 2019, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Mazie Hirono, and Representative Judy Chu wrote a letter to the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ronald D. Vitiello, calling for the immediate release of Cristy and her mother, an asylum-seeking family facing prolonged detention at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
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Families Deserve Safety and Freedom – Not Jail!

November 06, 2018

Nearly 80 mothers and children were placed in prolonged detention in Dilley, Texas following their separations at the border this summer. Some were detained for upwards of six months. The Immigration Justice Campaign partnered with Amnesty International and the Dilley Pro Bono Project to advocate for the release of these families. As of Friday, November 30, 2018, all reunified families in Dilley were freed to continue their journeys toward asylum in the United States outside of detention. Thank you to those who joined our campaign to #FreetheFamilies!
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AILA and the American Immigration Council’s Comment Against the Indefinite Detention of Children

September 2018

In September, 2018, the government issued a proposed regulation that would dismantle the Flores Settlement Agreement. The proposal – if finalized – would lead to the indefinite detention of children and families in federal immigration detention facilities. Read AILA and the American Immigration Council’s comment to the government opposing this regulation.
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Handwritten Letters from Previously Separated Moms Detained in Dilley

22 immigrant mothers previously separated from their children and now detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, wrote letters to the public about being forcibly separated from their children by the government. Read their stories.
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