WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Department of Homeland Security announced it will publish a final rule that would allow the termination of important protections in the Flores Settlement Agreement, a legal settlement that governs the conditions of children held in immigration detention.
The government is moving to change licensing requirements so that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can hold families with children in its own facilities — with limited oversight and potentially lower standards of care.
In addition, the rule, as proposed, allows for the indefinite detention of children with their families while they await immigration court proceedings. The average wait time for an immigration case to be heard is about two years, and wait times in some jurisdictions averaged nearly three years as of June 2019.
“The administration has zero credibility when it comes to setting licensing requirements for the care of children in immigration detention facilities,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.
“Detaining families indefinitely is not a humane substitute for an agreement that required that the government release children from detention within 20 days. Children should not be in immigration detention for years while they wait for their family’s immigration proceedings.”