If Biden revives family detention, this will be yet another example of how his administration has reneged on its promises

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Washington, DC - In response to New York Times reporting that the Biden administration is considering reviving the practice of family detention, Setareh Ghandehari, Advocacy Director of Detention Watch Network issued the following statement:

“We have repeatedly said that in the absence of an official policy to end family detention, the Biden administration is leaving the door open to reignite the policy in the future.

We are disheartened, and enraged to learn that the Biden administration is now in fact considering bringing back the cruel and inhumane practice of detaining families. President Obama ended family detention at the Hutto Detention Center in his first year in office, only to bring large scale family detention back in 2014 and pave the way for the expansion of family detention by President Trump.  President Biden promised to end family detention on the campaign trail and repeatedly condemned the Trump administration for detaining families. Yet, the Biden administration is now seemingly moving towards repeating mistakes from the past.

ICE’s family detention centers, like all detention centers, need to be shut down and contracts must be terminated. Families should be able to navigate their immigration cases in community with support services provided and facilitated by local community based groups – never ICE, an enforcement agency that is plagued by egregiously poor conditions and a culture of violence that results in system-wide abuses.

If the Biden administration revives family detention, it will be yet another example of how the Biden administration has reneged on its promises to bring fairness to the immigration system. Instead, this administration has doubled-down on the use of detention, surveillance, and restrictive border policies that result in deportations – tearing apart families and communities. We demand the administration act on the overwhelming consensus to shut down these detention facilities for good by issuing an official policy terminating family detention to ensure that no family is detained in ICE custody ever again.”


Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow on Twitter @DetentionWatch.