As a network of legal service providers dedicated to serving immigrant children and their families, National Justice for Our Neighbors is appalled by The Department of Homeland Security’s recent announcement of a plan that would allow for the indefinite detention of migrant children.
Under this “new Flores rule,” children and their families could be held in detention facilities for months—or even longer—while their case is being decided.
With hundreds of children still separated from their parents, we believe that this ruling is the latest move by this administration to take away immigrant access to due process, dignity, and safety in a misguided and cruel attempt to “deter” future migration.
The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement applies to all unaccompanied and accompanied children in U.S. immigration custody. This law, grounded in ten years of court findings and fundamental child protection principles, ensures that, among other things, children are not subject to prolonged detention, that they receive appropriate care, and that their due process rights are respected.
This new Flores rule, however, poses an alternative that is dangerous, cruel and inhumane, especially when we know that detaining children causes trauma, sickness and unimaginable heartbreak.
Children do not belong in detention.
Judge Dolly Gee of the Central District of California oversees the Flores case and must approve the new rule before it can be implemented. In the past she has ruled in favor of protecting the Flores Agreement and even expanding protections for immigrant children.
National Justice for Our Neighbors will do everything in our power to support the lawsuits that are already challenging this new rule. We vehemently oppose the new Flores rule or any other policy that would negatively impact the welfare of children.