The Trump administration has an official plan to replace a court agreement from 1997 that protects migrant children in government custody with a limitless detainment of families who enter the United States illegally. The Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services published a draft of the new regulation on Friday.
The new regulation would likely “lead to the detention of thousands of families apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, by eliminating extra legal protections for children who arrive with their parents, Vox reported. It would “supersede” the Flores settlement, which is an agreement that the federal government has followed since 1997 to deal with children who enter the U.S. without a parent. Then, in 2015, Judge Dolly Gee ruled that the Flores settlement also applied to children arriving in the U.S. with their parents forcing the government to release families from detention centers after no more than 20 days, Vox reported.
If the Trump administration’s plan goes through, immigrant families will be detained in facilities for as long as deemed necessary. And while these facilities have to be formally licensed by state or local governments under the Flores settlement, the new replacement regulation would allow any available facility to house detainees and audit the facility at a later date.
While the administration’s proposal is subject to review – the public will have 60 days from Friday to comment – immigration and human rights advocates have plans to push back against the replacement regulation by raising serious concerns about the lasting trauma this could cause.
A legal battle might be soon to come.