Continetti: Trump Administration’s Immigration Rule ‘Rectifies’ Problems Of Flores Agreement

Undocumented women and their children being released from ICE custody walk to a bus station in San Antonio to continue their journey.
Source CNN  Angela Barajas

The new rule, ending the so-called Flores agreement, will allow officials to hold families in detention indefinitely for the duration of immigration cases, which could be much longer than previous limit.

The Trump administration is moving to formally terminate a federal court settlement restricting how long US officials can detain migrant children with their parents and replace it with a new rule that could expand family detention and dramatically increase the time children spend in custody.

"The detention of children can lead to trauma, suicidal feelings, and exposure to dangerously inadequate medical care", said Clara Long, acting deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch.

In the US, immigrant advocates and Democrats decried the new regulations, saying prolonged detention would traumatize immigrant children.

The latest action tears apart the Flores Settlement Agreement that had placed limits on how long children of families seeking asylum could be held in detention, enabling the US government to release tens of thousands of families pending the resolution of their cases. Make no mistake: "this new rule is about letting President Trump and Stephen Miller keep children in bad conditions for longer periods of times and continue the administration's horrid treatment of innocent migrant families fleeing unthinkable hardship". Basically, detention centers couldn't hold family units for more than 20 days, even though it takes roughly 45 to 60 days to complete their immigration proceedings.

It would specifically abolish the 20-day limit, which prompted President Trump to criticize the "catch and release" of migrants into the US.

"The Flores agreement has been a crucially important bulwark against widespread inhumane treatment of migrant children, and it should be protected", continued the Mercy sisters on Twitter. Those rules require that the government detain migrant children in the least restrictive environment possible and release children to parents, guardians or a licensed program within 20 days of detention.

Now, families will be held in detention centers until their court dates.

The new regulation is likely to face significant legal hurdles before it can be implemented.

More news: China warns US tariffs will 'escalate trade friction'

The latest immigration court numbers suggest that most of the families don't have a good case for asylum.

As of last week, California had filed some 56 lawsuits against the Trump administration on a variety of issues, including health care, immigration and the environment. "For the sake of thousands of immigrant families, the courts must halt this policy before it ever goes into practice". The administration unveiled a sweeping rule last week that would deny visas and permanent residency to poor migrants, a move that experts say could cut legal immigration in half if it survives court challenges.

"The new rule will protect children by reducing incentives for adults, including human smugglers, to exploit minors in the unsafe journey to our border", McAleenan said.

"Today, the government has issued a critical rule that will permit the Department of Homeland Security to appropriately hold families together and improve the integrity of the immigration system", Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement.

Also on Outraged with Trump ICE raids? It's not clear how this change would affect that policy.

At a detention center in McAllen, Texas, there were almost 1,800 juveniles when the entire capacity for both juveniles and adults was 1,500.

It seems the 2018 plan is being reupped now that there has been a drop in border crossings in recent weeks and border facilities are less overwhelmed.

For example, a Border Patrol station in in Clint, Texas, an El Paso suburb, had a capacity for 105 children. Lawyers who visited in June described squalid conditions. More than 2,900 children were separated from their parents as a result and sent to prison.

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