The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is set to expand detention facilities housing apprehended undocumented immigrant families. Immigrant rights advocates and lawyers have called the DHS decision "controversial" due to existing detention facility conditions.

Based on her previous experience visiting detention facility centers, the Women's Refugee Commission's Migrant Rights and Justice Director Michelle Brané said the detention of families is a "mistake," and it's "difficult to implement in a humane manner."

Many problems they've seen in previous detention facilities still exist at locations like the Artesia detention facility in New Mexico. Of the several detention facilities immigration rights advocates and legal experts visited, children were held in conditions resulting in breakdowns of family relationships, suicidal thoughts and weight loss.

Brané said the current screening procedures are "extremely arbitrary." Instead of being a "transitional process" of being screened or receiving assistance in court, low or no-bond policies are in place instead. In some cases, facilities are in remote areas and legal counsel is difficult to get.

National Immigrant Justice Center's Director of Policy Royce Murray said family detention centers are a source of "much disappointment." She noted most of the recent arrivals come from countries with high rates of domestic violence, and a "vast majority" of women in detention are victims of sexual assault and violence. Murray said the detention facilities in the U.S. may be "re-traumatizing" women and their children.

The NIJC director of policy said the family detention centers are inadequate to meet counseling and medical attention needs. Murray added the only therapeutic service at the Artesia facility was conducted by video teleconferencing such as Skype.

Murray said the detention conditions provide no time for detained families to recover, and the opportunity to speak to counsel is critically important but "quite difficult." Mothers have to be with their children at all times, but it may prevent women from being more open about their issues, thus, it can affect their case to stay in the U.S.

Former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Laura Lichter said she was "shocked" and "deeply disturbed" based on the conditions at Artesia even one month after the facility first opened. Lichter noted four of five cases were viable asylum cases, notably due to domestic violence case, but "credible fear" findings have dropped because of pressure from the Obama administration to increase deportation rates.

The actual time between "clocking a case and closing a case" is six and a half days, but the time frame is "unworkable" for detained families to understand their options and access claims for important interviews.

"The government has aggressively pursued a no-bond policy," Lichter said, adding that the same policy has been used for accused terrorists.

The biggest issues, according to Lichter, is that the detained families do not have adequate due process, and it is difficult to win a case unless a lawyer is provided for the undocumented immigrants.

"All I can see is [detained immigrant families] are being treated as political pawns," Lichter said. She added the current government policy "does absolutely nothing to stop future migration flows. ... We are not following our own laws."

According to U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Director of the Office of Migration and Refugee Policy Kevin Appleby, if people undermine the due process of the families in the detention centers, "We are less of a nation."

Brané said detention is expensive and costs higher for families. While specific figures may vary by need and location, Brané said detention costs $160 to $260 per person, per day. For the year, the costs could accumulate to $250 million.