20,000 signatures reached
To: President Joe Biden | Nominated Secretary of HHS Xavier Becerra | Director of ORR, Cindy Huang
Keep Homestead Child Detention Center Closed
Under President Trump, Homestead Child Detention Center functioned as a prison for children coming to the U.S. seeking refuge, many of whom were fleeing violence and poverty. Reopening emergency influx centers that operate as mass detention centers is not an acceptable option. Instead, our government must prioritize uniting migrant children with family members or sponsors. I urge you to invest in community-based alternatives to detention—and keep the Homestead Child Detention Center closed forever.
Why is this important?
President Biden and his administration promised to reunite children separated from their families and treat immigrants with the respect and dignity we all deserve, but in late February news broke that Homestead Child Detention Center may reopen soon.
Reopening Homestead—or any child detention center—places young people in greater danger, especially in this pandemic. Detention centers are places where social distancing is impossible, health care is inadequate, and abuses are rampant. And studies have shown that detaining children causes lasting trauma. The cost of that to children, families, and our communities is incalculable.
Environmental conditions at this detention center also pose potentially serious health and safety threats to the children who would be housed there, including possible exposure to toxic chemicals from a neighboring Superfund site.
AFSC worked with partners and community members in Florida and across the country to shut down the detention center in 2019, when it held around 2,000 children under President Trump. Now we’re mobilizing to stop the Biden administration from reopening the center—and urging them to instead prioritize uniting migrant children with family members or sponsors and promote community-based alternatives to detention that are in compliance with the rights of children.