Rutgers-Camden panel discusses monetary, psychological expenses of immigrant detention

Mark Abrams
September 13, 2018 - 5:25 pm
July 26, 2018; Washington, D.C. Families Belong Together Coalition march and sit-in at the Senate Hart Building to protest separation of immigrant families.

© Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A forum at Rutgers University–Camden Thursday examined the explosive issue of separating children from their families who are seeking immigration or asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

John Wall, chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, organized the panel discussion. He said this is not just a legal issue but also a deep cultural one, which Americans need to face.

Wall said people need "to have a conversation all across our country and around kitchen tables ... and through politics as well, just about the status of immigrants and also children."

Joanne Gottesman, director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at Rutgers Law School, noted that the idea of separating children from their families and even detaining whole families as criminals is costly.

"There are all sorts of alternatives to detention," she said. "If there is a concern about, you know, are people going to show up to their hearing? There are less expensive ways to do that."

She said even ankle monitors are a lot less expensive than detaining people.