On September 7th, the Administration proposed a regulation
change that will undermine existing child protection standards for immigrant
children. The proposed regulation would overturn minimum child protection
standards set by the courts in the 1997 Flores Agreement.
While the Flores Agreement outlines that children are not
safe in detention facilities and should not be kept in detention for longer
than 20 days, the proposed regulation
allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep children in detention
indefinitely, despite the psychological
and physical toll of detention. Additionally, the rule would allow to DHS, not qualified state agencies,
to set its own standards and auditors to certify a facility as “child-friendly.”
This will likely mean that detention centers might be qualified as child
appropriate even if state experts disagree due to poor conditions.
While the regulation titled “Apprehension, Processing, Care,
and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children” has been
proposed, there is a 60-day period when
members of the public, congregations and faith leaders can provide feedback
to DHS on the rule. The deadline to submit a comment is Nov. 6.
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