Stop Long Term Child and Family Detentions – Preserve Flores

Preserve the Flores Settlement Agreement!  Don’t let the government gut Flores and hold asylum-seeking children and families indefinitely in jail-like conditions.  Voice your dissent and write a comment today!

Under the Flores Settlement Agreement the government is required to release immigrant children from its custody within 20 days and, if it cannot, the children must be held in state-licensed and child-appropriate facilities, and in the least restrictive setting possible.  The agreement also sets minimum standards for these detention facilities.  The Trump administration has proposed new rules that gut the original agreement and allow the government to detain children with their families indefinitely.  Read more from the Washington Post, the ACLU, and Kids in Need of Defense.

Your comments should be your own, but here are some points you can draw from:

  • I urge ICE and HHS to defend and implement the full Flores Settlement Agreement and not to detain immigrant families lawfully seeking asylum. The Flores Agreement is a legal safeguard for children and not a loophole.  Government must continue to prioritize child welfare for those in its custody and be released without delay. 
  • Prolonged detention is traumatic for children, even when they are with their families.  Many children have already been seriously harmed by the needless family separation policy,.
  • There are ways to monitor families in communities prior to their court appearances that are more cost effective than detention.
  • The Flores Agreement established minimum standards for conditions in child detention facilities.  The proposed regulations erode these by allowing DHS to essentially license itself.  Given the egregious abuses at some facilities reported by the Office of the Inspector General, greater, not reduced, oversight is needed.
  • Seeking asylum is not illegal and these immigrant children and families should NOT be treated like criminals.
  • Currently , detained children have a right to a custody hearing before an immigration judge. This right should NOT be abridged. The proposal to replace it with an administrative hearing gives entirely too much discretion to Office of Refugee Resettlement officers. 
  • US policies should promote and protect the rights and safety of immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.  Families should not be separated nor incarcerated.  Community alternatives to family detention are viable, effective, humane and cost-efficient. 
  • Independent oversight of conditions in which children are held  should be increased, not undermined as these regulations would do.
  • These proposed regulations appear to serve very misguided policies for dealing with unaccompanied minors and families seeking asylum in the U.S.  In the eyes of the world the U.S. has been guilty of serious human rights violations and inhumane treatment of these vulnerable individuals.  

The deadline for comments on these inhumane rules is November 6.  The best way to submit comments is online:

SUBMIT COMMENTS

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