The Family Case Management Program, which President Donald Trump ended several months after taking office, was meant to keep track of immigrant parents and kids in removal proceedings without having to keep them locked up. It was relatively small ― about 950 families in five locations. But it was hugely successful: More than 99 percent of families in the program showed up for their court dates, and 97 percent participated in required check-ins with their case managers, according to a report from Geo Care, the private prison company that operated the program. And it reportedly cost the government just $36 per family each day, versus $319 per bed per day in a family detention center.
…The FCMP was meant for people deemed too vulnerable for detention, such as pregnant or nursing women or families with special needs children. It required families to be briefed on their responsibilities in the immigration court process, which can be complicated, and to check in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and their case manager. Case managers referred families to services — such as lawyers and children’s school enrollment — and, if they received a deportation order in court, helped them prepare to return to their native country.
…ICE abruptly shut down the program last June with little explanation for advisory committee members.
…Immigrant rights advocates are pushing for policymakers to remember that detention isn’t the only option.
“ICE has a whole range of alternatives to detention,” said Ashley Feasley, a former advisory committee member and the director of policy at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ migration and refugee services. “These are existing programs that could be implemented now in lieu of building large-scale family-child detention facilities.”