ICE to Begin Releasing Immigrant Families
By Jason Buch
Families held in South Texas detention centers will be released if they pass the first step in the asylum process, immigration officials announced Monday.
The news comes weeks after Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the government would more quickly release the more than 2,000 women and children being held in detention centers in Karnes County and Dilley.
“DHS has determined reconsideration is appropriate for custody decisions of arriving families who have established eligibility for asylum, or other relief under our laws. Understanding the sensitive and unique nature of housing families, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is evaluating cases of residents housed at the agency’s family residential centers,” agency spokesman Richard Rocha said. “Going forward, ICE will generally not detain mothers with children, absent a threat to public safety or national security, if they have received a positive finding for credible or reasonable fear and the individual has provided a verifiable residential address.”
The credible and reasonable fear interviews conducted by employees from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees legal immigration, is the first step in the asylum process. ICE has been heavily criticized since it began holding families in Karnes and Dilley last year because activists said the majority of those in detention had passed their interviews.