Rep. Gutierrez: Report of Meeting with DHS Secretary 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 –-(ENEWSPF)–June 25, 2015. Yesterday, 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.

Video footage of South Texas Family Residential Center – Dilley, TX | June 23, 2015: