Trump admin plans to allow longer detention of migrant families

Child migrants to be held in detention longer under new Trump administration rule

Trump Admin Plans to End Limits on How Long It Can Detain Children

A decades-old legal settlement called the Flores agreement establishes how long migrant children can be detained and the conditions of their detention, generally 20 days or less.

The Department of Homeland Security is moving to end a long-standing federal court agreement that limits how long immigrant children can be kept in detention.

In recent months, the administration has proposed rules that could make it more hard for immigrants to get green cards, worked to end temporary protected status for migrants from certain countries and limit avenues to declare asylum.

Instead, officials would be able to hold families with children in "licensed facilities or facilities that meet ICE's [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] family residential standards" until their cases are decided.

Peter Schey, a lawyer for the immigrant children in the Flores case and president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, said that if the new regulations don't match the settlement, "they would be in immediate material breach, if not contempt of court".

Main image: US Border Patrol along the border fence in Lukeville, Arizona.

Last September, the administration proposed a similar plan to detain children for longer than 20 days, saying that it had the authority to "terminate" some of the Flores agreement restrictions, including the time limits.

That's according to two DHS officials who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss regulations not made public.

Trump has struggled to respond to an unprecedented influx of undocumented migrants at the U.S. -Mexico border, mostly people from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Because of those restrictions, migrant families coming into the country have been released into the USA while their asylum requests wind their way through the courts.

Since the United States law permits people to cross the border to seek asylum, handling undocumented immigrants along the southern border has been a major headache for Trump administration. It is expected that detaining families for longer period may deter migrants from crossing the Southwestern border illegally.

In recent weeks, the number of border crossings began to drop slightly following an agreement by the Mexican government with Trump to deploy its own security forces to crack down on asylum seekers. Still unclear, however, is where the administration plans to put the families, which continue to cross the border in the tens of thousands each month.

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