Children Held by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
1992 General Resolution
BECAUSE the principles of Unitarian Universalism affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person and justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; and
BECAUSE we are all impoverished when we or our government depart from these principles; and
WHEREAS the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) detains hundreds of im-migrant and refugee children every year; and
WHEREAS although children of arrested United States citizens are normally released to responsible parties, the INS in some districts is now refusing to release children to persons other than relatives, even though accepted standards of justice and care require such release; and
WHEREAS the INS has no clear policy of proper care of detained children and some of its contract facilities fail to meet minimum child-welfare standards for dependent children; and
WHEREAS physical abuse of children at INS and contract facilities has been documented; and
WHEREAS long incarceration pressures families to return to dangerous or war-torn homelands;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association urges the United States Congress and Administration to require that when the INS detains children they be held, whenever possible, with their families in accredited shelter care programs or facilities that are state licensed for dependent care or in INS facilities that meet state standards;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that when the protection of public welfare demands that parents be detained separately from their children, when the parents are not available or when the parents wishto have their children released, then the INS be urged to release detained children to responsible parties in this order of priority:
- caregivers who have been designated by a responsible family member;
- licensed child-welfare facilities; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that Unitarian Universalist congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists in the United States be urged to make appropriate representation to Congress and the Administration and, especially in states with INS children's detention centers, to investigate and monitor the practices, standards, and care at those facilities.
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