Trump Administration Eliminates Established Protections for Children and Families

Tessa Wiseman
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is set to issue a regulation that would reverse the protections of the Flores Settlement Agreement—a long-standing court settlement put in place to ensure the safety and proper care of children in immigration detention—and allow for migrant families to be held in detention for the duration of their immigration proceedings.

Marketa Lindt, AILA President, said, "This regulation would authorize the indefinite detention of children and families in federal immigration detention facilities, while further weakening the basic standards of living and care afforded these vulnerable populations. Prolonged detention causes profound and well-documented harm to the physical and mental well-being of children and families, and, despite what the government asserts, will not act as a deterrent. Women and families will continue to flee from the extreme levels of violence and life-threatening persecution in their home countries to seek protection in the United States."

Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director, added, "This regulation is a violation of fundamental American values and a complete reversal of the Flores Settlement Agreement that will funnel billions in taxpayer dollars into private prisons in order to jail children and families, despite the existence of more effective and humane alternatives. Rather than attempting to detain families for longer periods of time in conditions that have repeatedly proved inhumane or illegal, the government should increase the capacity of the asylum system, expand cost-effective and humane alternatives to detention, and support long-term solutions that would address the root causes of violence compelling people to flee their home countries."

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 19082132.