Most of the Central American families detained by DHS have come to the U.S. seeking refugee protection, having fled one of the most dangerous regions in the world where women and children are raped, abused, and killed with impunity. Eighty-eight percent of detained families have demonstrated to a DHS asylum officer that they have a credible fear of persecution if deported.
Since the summer of 2014, the ACLU has been working to halt the administration’s family detention practices. In February, a federal judge issued an order in RILR v. Johnson, an ACLU class action suit challenging DHS’s policy of detaining families seeking asylum, in order to deter future migration from Central America. The court blocked DHS from relying on general deterrence as a basis to detain families.