In a move which seeks to oppose the creation of the largest immigrant detention facility in the country, as well as to focus attention on the plight of immigrant mothers and children, 10 Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, in which they mentioned that they were "deeply concerned with the decision to build the Dilley detention center that will detain women and children."
Though the senators acknowledged the problems brought about by the increase of unaccompanied minors crossing over the U.S. border to the Obama administration, they called for measures to protect those who are in the country who are seeking asylum, particularly mothers and children.
"We fear that the result will be the ongoing detention of asylum-seeking women and children who have shown a credible fear of being returned to their home country and pose no flight risk or danger to the community," wrote the Senators.
Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) previously announced plans to build a 2,400-bed family detention in Dilley, which is about 70 miles southwest of San Antonio.
In late September, Women's Refugee Commission's Migrant Rights and Justice Program Director Michelle Brane said that the facility will reportedly cost about $300 per day per person, or approximately $260 million per year. Brane said that the Obama administration claims to have insufficient funds to provide blankets for detained immigrant children, yet it plans to see the detention center through to its completion.
Brane suggests that the current administration should rethink its decision to build the detention facility, and instead, invest the funds to protect the "mental and physical well-being" of the immigrants.
"Rather than invest hundreds of millions of dollars in new facilities to arbitrarily detain families, the Administration should consider alternatives to detention that better serve the mental and physical well-being of vulnerable families that have fled some of the most dangerous parts of the world in search of safety," said Brane to the Latin Post.