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As you may know, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has *expanded its policy of detaining immigrant and asylum-seeking families to a former prison in Taylor, Texas*. While a 2007 lawsuit improved the conditions in which men, women, and children were held, ICE's *current family detention standards remain of great concern to child, family, and immigrant rights advocates*.

ICE officials have indicated that they will *re-open their Family Residential Standards* for public comment this year (an improvement on the initial two week comment period offered by the previous administration).
ICE is currently considering bids for one or more family detention facilities, so this comment period is a great opportunity to *shape family detention policy at the national level*.

The Family Residential Standards can be quite specific, and we especially encourage comments on topics about which you have particular expertise.
We
are particularly interested in hearing from academics, researchers, analysts, and practitioners with expertise in any of the following
areas:**
*child and family welfare, **juvenile justice issues, **incarceration and detention, **immigration law and policy, **international human rights, **refugee and asylum law, **international migration, **post-traumatic stress conditions in children and adults, **and the Violence Against Women Act.*

We welcome your expertise on specific standards, on family detention policy generally, and/or on the standards' framework. *We welcome any degree of engagement*, whether it's a short letter communicating your general impressions, a list of specific deficiencies or improvements, "best practices" from your own field, or a point by point analysis of the standards. We also welcome sign-on letters from professional organizations, research groups, academic departments, and other professional organizations.

As a preliminary deadline, we are asking you to prepare your comments by August 31, 2009. To learn more about family detention policy, please
visit: http://sites.google.com/site/famresstandards/) and join our
*low-traffic* listserv
(http://groups.google.com/group/FRS-working-group?pli=1). We will use the listserv to post updates on ICE's public comment period and to share drafts--please sign up to stay informed.

Please contact Lauren Martin
(lauren.martin@uky.edu)
for more information about how you can contribute, and feel free to forward this email to other interested parties. *Thank you for taking the time to advocate for humane immigration enforcement practices towards families!*

Sincerest thanks,
Lauren Martin, Department of Geography, University of Kentucky Michelle Brane & Emily Butera, Women's Refugee Commission http://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/programs/detention

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