Speaking out against family detention on Capitol Hill
June 16, 2015
|Sister Kathleen Erickson (left) speaks with Rev. Sharon Stanley,
Disciples of Christ during their visit to Capitol Hill to discuss
the inhumanity of family detention.
On June 11, Sister Kathleen Erickson shared on Capitol Hill what she witnessed and experienced as the interim chaplain at South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas—the largest family detention facility in the country. Kathleen’s visit to Washington, D.C., was a fulfillment of the promise she made to the women and children she served for two months. Before leaving, she had told them that she would share their stories to those with the power to end family detention.
At Dilley, Erickson had a unique role that allowed her to build relationships with both the staff of the detention facility and the detained women and children. Her insider perspective was extremely appealing for members of Congress and their staffs, who filled the room for all three of her briefings. Joined by a lawyer from the American Immigration Lawyer Association, Erickson described the psychological trauma caused by incarcerating women and children asylum seekers. These briefings better informed Congress how the so-called “compassionate care” offered in these private prison facilities is a façade.
Also during her time in Washington, D.C., Erickson had several media interviews and placed an op-ed in the Christian Post. Her short time in the nation’s capital adds momentum to the campaign to end the policy of family detention.