The Trump administration proposed this week to lift the court-imposed limits regarding how children are handled in immigration detention centers. This would significant alter the Flores settlement, an agreement written in 1997 and modified in 2015, that limits the time immigrant children are detained and under what conditions they are held.
Spokespersons in the administration claims it wants to detain families together and maintain the goal of Flores by making sure children are treated with the respect, dignity and concern for their special needs as vulnerable individuals. At this time, there are still almost 500 children still detained without their parents.
However, head of homeland security Kirstjen Nielsen statement on the matter also includes troubling wording about the need to tie up loopholes that “significantly hinder the Department’s ability to appropriately detain and promptly remove family units that have no legal basis to remain in the country.”
Critics hit back
Federal Judge Dolly Gee, who oversees the Flores settlement, response to the proposal has been swift, stating that it is “A cynical attempt to shift responsibility to the Judiciary for over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered Executive action that has led to the current stalemate.”
According to multiple media sources including NPR, the administration is essentially claiming that they should not have oversight in this matter, which has caused a huge outcry.
“When you see the visual of them taking babies away from their moms, and then saying ‘we can keep them endlessly,’” added Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, “you understand the inhumanity of it all. It has no practical value.”
This is another chapter in the administration’s war to punish families who seek a better life here in the United States. It has now found that laws governing this country are inconvenient to its mean-spirited regard for others, and officials are fighting back to protect those laws.
It is also recommended that those families facing immigration issues should go the additional step to consult with attorneys who know immigration law and can protect the rights of immigrants.