Schatz Calls to End Immigrant Detention

December 18, 2018, 9:25 AM HST · Updated December 18, 9:25 AM
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Sen. Brian Schatz led a group of 13 senators in urging the Department of Defense to stop providing funds or resources for immigration detention. The call comes after President Donald Trump announced his plan to build “massive cities of tents” along the Southern border to detain immigrants crossing the border.

“There is currently no justification for the use of military funds or resources for immigration detention,” the senators wrote in a letter to defense secretary James Mattis. “We urge you to clarify that DOD has not and will not participate in immigration detention. If plans are already underway, we urge you to immediately halt any progress.”

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In the letter, the senators highlighted warnings from medical professionals on the harm that family detention has on children. Earlier this month, a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died from dehydration after being detained by Customs and Border Protection, Schatzʻs communications director said. According to the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 50,000 families were apprehended on the Southern border in the last two months.

Sens. Blumenthal, Leahy, Sanders, Udall, Hollen, Gillibrand, Booker, Hirono, Merkley, Duckworth, Heinrich, and Harris all joined sen. Schatz in writing the letter.

A PDF version of the letter is available online.

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