After the White House’s controversial child separation policy drew sharp and widespread criticism, immigration policy issues around child migrants continue to fester, with a new regulation being proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Homeland Security called the “Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children”. The regulation is a new attempt to lift restraints on how long migrant children may be detained that came just weeks after a request by the Trump administration for indefinite child detainment through the courts was denied.
The Flores Settlement
The Flores Settlement is the federal consent decree that has shaped detention standards for underage migrants since 1997. It prevents children from being detained in immigration jails for longer than 20 days. Through the regulatory proposal, the Trump administration now seeks to terminate this decades-old settlement. The move would allow ICE to expand detention facilities and almost certainly would lead to lawsuits that could take the case to the Supreme Court.
Immigrant advocates worry the regulation change will significantly weaken protections for children, such as removing the requirements to transfer children quickly to family-friendly detention facilities and to offer them the opportunity to appeal for asylum through a trained asylum officer rather than through the immigration court system for children attempting to join parents already in America.
Publishing them in the Federal Register triggers a 60-day period for public comments.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Submit a comment at regulations.gov BY NOVEMBER 6 to oppose the government’s proposal to end the Flores agreement in order to maintain important protections for children and prevent taxpayer dollars from supporting indefinite detention for kids. Request that the Flores Agreement be upheld to keep legal protections for children and regulation on the custody of minors in place.