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Jayapal Responds to ICE Holding Asylum Seekers in Federal Prison Facilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, member of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, released the following statement in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s transfer of 1,600 people to federal prison facilities, including 209 people at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, Washington.

“Federal detention is no place for anyone seeking asylum. This is a stunning new low and it illustrates how out-of-control and cruel this administration is – how little it cares for human rights.”

“They are overloading the immigration detention system by separating families and transferring asylum seekers – people looking for relief from violence and persecution – into our federal prison system.

“This is unethical, ineffective and inhumane. We have obligations under international and domestic law to treat asylum seekers fairly and with dignity. That means providing them access to the asylum process, not criminally prosecuting them and tearing them away from their children.  

“There are common sense, humane and cost-effective alternatives to detention that we could be using right now. I call on ICE to immediately follow the process that has always been in place to respect our international obligations, give these women credible fear hearings, make sure they have access to lawyers and reunite them with their families. I want the women being held in custody to know that we will have their backs.”