Trump’s Move to Terminate Detention Limits Could See Migrant Families Detained Indefinitely
The Trump administration is looking to abolish a court agreement that set limits on how long migrant children can be detained, replacing it with a new policy that would potentially allow children and families to remain in detention facilities indefinitely.
According to the Washington Post, the new rule would eliminate the current limit of 20 days for the detainment of children. It would also allow the government to make changes to the standard of care afforded to children in immigration detention facilities.
The move still requires approval from a federal judge before it can go into effect, and several advocates have already pledged to challenge it in court.
The district judge in charge of overseeing the Flores agreement has also already rejected requests from the federal government to increase the limit on how many days children can be detained.
Currently, under the Flores agreement established in 1997, the federal government must release any minor from a non-licensed detention facility after 20 days.
For the last 20 years, the agreement provided essential protections for migrant children fleeing violence and persecution, which are now at risk.
Because of this settlement, children entering the US seeking asylum are typically released while their asylum requests make their way through the courts.
But if approved, the new rule would allow the government to hold families in detention facilities until their immigration cases are completed, which could far exceed 20 days.
White House officials have defended Trump’s decision, stating that they are creating a higher set of standards for governing family detention facilities, which will see the facilities regularly audited, and the results of these audits made public.
The new regulation is the latest in a series of controversial efforts by the Trump administration to restrict immigration in response to the growing number of families and unaccompanied minors crossing the US-Mexico border to seek asylum in the US.
Throughout the past several months, the administration has proposed other new policies that would end temporary protected status for migrants from certain countries, fast track deportations, limit avenues to claim asylum and make it more challenging for immigrants to obtain green cards.