REP. GUTIÉRREZ: READ-OUT OF MEETING WITH DHS SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON AND DELEGATION OF HOUSE DEMOCRATS WHO VISITED TEXAS FAMILY DETENTION FACILITIES
“The eight Members who traveled to Texas this week want the detention of moms and kids to end.” -- Rep. Gutiérrez
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) and the other seven House Democrats who traveled to Texas this week to visit two privately-run family immigration detention centers, met with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in the Capitol. They discussed what the Members saw and heard during their two-day visit to the facilities where women and children are held awaiting disposition of their applications for asylum. The Secretary discussed the announcement he made earlier about certain changes in policy related to the detention of moms and children.
The Members who met with Secretary Johnson were: Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). This was the same group who held a press conference earlier in the day (see earlier release, pasted below).
After the meeting, Rep. Gutierrez issued the following statement:
“To a person, the eight Members who traveled to Texas this week want the detention of moms and kids to end and be replaced with other ways to monitor people waiting for their asylum cases to be heard. The Secretary is clearly not in a position to say he will end the practice of family detention and keeping kids locked up, but the dialogue is positive and productive.”
“The policies the Secretary announced today are improvements and are welcome. We are making progress. The Members were clear that we want to work with the Secretary, but that our goal is to go further. After seeing so many children in jail-like conditions, we will continue to work to make sure children and mothers like the ones we met this week are not kept in detention the way they are now.”
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez represents the Fourth District of Illinois, is a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and is the Co-Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
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EARLIER PRESS RELEASE AND NOTE TO REPORTERS:
Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke at a press conference in Washington this morning with seven of his colleagues who visited two family immigration detention facilities in Texas over the past two days. The Members who spoke at the press conference were: Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA).
See below for links to audio from the press conference and video and photos that were shot by Members of Congress at the detention centers in Karnes City (June 22) and Dilley, Texas (June 23).
Photos from today’s press conference in Washington here: https://bit.ly/1dgF3es (Credit: Office of Rep. Gutiérrez)
A demonstration of hundreds of children and their moms took place at the facility at Dilley and the Congressman’s short video of what he saw is here: https://bit.ly/1GpEPKq
Congressman Gutiérrez spoke to Jose Diaz-Balart this morning on MSNBC at 9:30 am ET about his trip to Texas (and today’s trade debate in Washington) and MSNBC aired the video shot by the Congressman of the children and mothers at the Dilley family detention facility. Video of MSNBC interview: https://bit.ly/1LC6njd
For Immediate Release
June 24, 2015
Peter Whippy (Rep. Lofgren)
House Democrats recap trip to family detention facilities
Say conditions are inhumane and immoral, and newly-proposed DHS reforms are inadequate
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of eight House Democrats recounted a trip they took this week to visit two private family detention facilities in Texas used to hold mothers and children awaiting disposition of their asylum claims.
During this trip, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD), Joaquin Castro (TX), Judy Chu (CA), Raúl Grijalva (AZ), Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL), Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX), Zoe Lofgren (CA), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA) met with detainees at the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City on Monday, June 22nd, and at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley on Tuesday, June 23rd, to discuss their experiences, living conditions, and more.
During the press conference, members released videos and pictures they took during their visit, which show women and children pleading for their freedom.
The Members are among the 136 House Democrats who recently signed a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson calling for an end to family detention. They plan to meet with Secretary Johnson later this afternoon to discuss what they observed at the family detention centers, and their concerns regarding the recently announced DHS policy changes to immigrant family detention.
Video footage of South Texas Family Residential Center – Dilley, TX | June 23, 2015
Available for viewing and download at: https://bit.ly/1GpEPKq
Additional Video Footage
Pictures of South Texas Family Residential Center and Karnes County Residential Center | June 22-23, 2015
Available for viewing and download here