International Law Matters is pleased to welcome this guest post from Professor Ashley Feasley. Ashley Feasley @ashleyfeasley is an Adjunct Professor of the Law at Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America and a Policy Advisor at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information on immigrant detention please PM her on Twitter.
In response to the influx of approximately 60,000 migrant families arriving at the Southwest Border during the summer of 2014, the United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) instituted a policy of detaining immigrant families in prison-like “residential facilities” located along the US-Mexico border. The US government rapidly expanded its family detention capacity by building new or retrofitting existing facilities in Artesia, New Mexico; Karnes, Texas; and Dilley, Texas with plans to increase family detention bed space up to possibly 6,350 beds.  Currently, family detention centers are located in Berks, Pennsylvania; Dilley, Texas; and Karnes Detention Center near San Antonio and comprise of roughly 3,100 family detention beds. However, in April 2014, there were only roughly 100 beds in the entire United States. The women and children who are being detained in these newly-built facilities are largely immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who are fleeing violence and persecution. Many have viable international-protection claims. Continue reading