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Immigration Law Blog

Blog on immigration law information, issues and news.

Detaining Undocumented Children Indefinitely

On Wednesday (August 21, 2019) the Trump administration announced that they will put an end to the Flores agreement which was established in 1997. The agreement placed a limit on the length of time a migrant child could be kept in a U.S. border detention center. The length of time acceptable under the Flores agreement was no more than 20 days in the detention center. The Flores agreement stemmed from a 1985 lawsuit (Flores v. Reno case) which overlooked “the treatment of a 15-year-old migrant from El Salvador, Jenny Lisette Flores, and three other minors after they were detained by immigration authorities while trying to enter the United States. Their lawsuit alleged they had been subjected to strip searches and body cavity searches, and were detained with unrelated adults.” Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Kevin 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.” Many believe that the new rule is nothing more than the Trump administration’s ploy to continue to jail children and parents indefinitely. There is nothing humanitarian in the way the administration is handling the situation. President Donald Trump stated on Wednesday that, “very much I have the children on my mind. It bothers me very greatly.” Yet he believes that keeping children jailed in detention centers for more than 20 days is somehow helpful? The American Psychological Association stated, “The large majority of these children have already experienced trauma before arriving at immigration facilities, and the longer they are held in detention, the more likely their mental health will continue to suffer.” At this point actions speak louder than words and if the Trump administration claims to care about these children, they would do the right thing and allow them to be released. 

Mercedes Riggs