FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
13 October 2023
Contact: Kevin McGuire, 202-538-2386 (mobile)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, led 70 Members of Congress to call on the Administration to provide a briefing and detailed information regarding the new Family Expedited Removal Management (FERM) process. The members are concerned an expedited process denies families a meaningful opportunity to present their cases and puts them at a disadvantage in attaining access to counsel or language services.
“FERM was initially launched in four destination cities but has rapidly expanded to 33 cities across the country,” wrote the Members. “While we commend the Department of Homeland Security for ending family detention, we have serious concerns about the FERM process. we request that the Department of Homeland Security provide us with a comprehensive briefing and detailed information regarding FERM, including the timelines for each step of the process, what type of language access and interpretation services are provided, and whether there are any procedures in place to ensure that migrants have timely and meaningful access to counsel and interpreters.”
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FERM was established to expedite processing. However, reports have indicated that this rushed process may limit access to counsel, and therefore hinder the asylum process. There is not enough time for newly arriving migrants to find attorneys, and for those attorneys to sufficiently prepare them for their credible fear interviews. FERM also does not appear to have a process to help families find attorneys, and legal service providers who want to help these families state they do not have the necessary information to locate them in time to provide meaningful assistance.
The letter was signed by Becca Balint (VT-AL), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Cori Bush (MO-01), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Greg Casar (TX-35), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Judy Chu (CA-28), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Lou Correa (CA-46), Jason Crow (CO-06), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Daniel Goldman (NY-10), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Summer Lee (PA-12), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Jerry Nadler (NY-12), Grace Napolitano (CA-31), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Katie Porter (CA-47), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Deborah Ross (NC-02), Raul Ruiz (CA-25), Gregorio Sablan (MP-AL), Andrea Salinas (OR-06), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam Schiff (CA-30), David Scott (GA-13), Terri Sewell (AL-07), Darren Soto (FL-09), Mark Takano (CA-39), Shri Thanedar (MI-13), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), David Trone (MD-06), Juan Vargas (CA-52), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Nikema Williams (GA-05), Frederica Wilson (FL-24).
It was also endorsed by National Immigrant Justice Center, Human Rights First, Vera Institute of Justice, Women’s Refugee Commission, Refugees International, Americans for Immigrant Justice, Mayan League, The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
The full text of the letter can be found here.