President Donald Trump and his administration are set to close down a program that was designed for asylum seeking mothers and children.
The Family Case Management Program served as the least restrictive alternative to detention for people who have entered the United States illegally. The program was initiated by former President Barrack Obama after a crisis in detention centers brought on by a surge of families and unaccompanied minors trying to cross the border with the United States.
The main idea behind the program was to provide an alternative path to people than staying in crowded detention centers. It was specifically designed to cater to mothers and young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
The program had 630 families enrolled as of April 19. Since January 2016, it has operated in Chicago, Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Washington.. Social workers associated with the program helped participants find lawyers, get housing and health care and enroll their kids in school.
“This is a clear attempt to punish mothers who are trying to save their children's lives by seeking protection in the United States. I think it's crazy they are shutting down a program that is so incredibly successful,” said Michelle Brane of the nonprofit Women's Refugee Commission.
The move is said to be a “cost cutting” measure which will “save” the Trump administration $12 million a year and the program is set to phase out on June 20.
However, family case management cost the government $36 a day per family versus between $5 and $7 per adult for intensive supervision. That compares to $319 per-person for a family detention center bed.
“It appears that these new detention policies are partly a result of the Trump administration's insistence on emphasizing detention over more humanitarian responses to women trauma survivors seeking protection in this country,” said Denise Gilman, an immigration attorney and law professor at the University of Texas.