Trump administration to detain families longer despite court

Trump administration to detain families longer despite court

Although the government frequently uses euphemisms to describe such facilities as "summer camps" with bountiful amenities, a writer from the Marshall Project who toured one such family residential center in Dilley, Texas, in 2015, described it as more of an "interment camp".

The Trump administration said September 6, it is abandoning a longstanding court settlement that limits how long immigrant children can be kept locked up, and it is proposing new regulations that would let the government detain families until their immigration cases are decided. The proposed regulations represent an attempt to achieve via administrative fiat what the government could not win in court, immigrant advocates said.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday it would terminate the agreement, which requires the government to release immigrant children generally after 20 days in detention.

The administration earlier this year asked a federal court to ease the limits mandated by the Flores agreement, but the judge overseeing the agreement, Dolly M Gee of the USA district court, rejected those requests. It also mandates that those facilities are licensed, but while states typically license child-care facilities, none issues licenses to family detention centers.

It petitioned the Los Angeles-based court then to amend the Flores pact by changing detention standards.

Justice Department lawyers had asked for permission to detain children and parents together until their cases are adjudicated, a process that can take months. And immigration advocates argue that even under the Flores settlement detention of minors, regardless of whether or not a child is with his or her parents, is harmful.

The Trump administration is proposing to lift court-imposed limits on how long it can hold children in immigration detention.

The Trump administration, which has been stepping up the fight against illegal immigration, says it has to separate them while their parents face criminal charges of illegally entering the country.

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It first announcing "zero tolerance" of unauthorized border crossings, regardless of whether people were fleeing violence and wishing to seek asylum in the U.S., then began systematically and forcibly separating families so it could hold the adults in jail and prosecute them, while taking children and babies to separate detention facilities.

There are three family detention centers in the U.S. The two largest locations, in Karnes City and Dilley, house more than 3,400. It would instead adopt regulations that administration officials say will provide care of minors, but allow changes to deter migrants illegally crossing the border. The agency oversees a network of about 100 shelters for underage migrants who arrive without a parent or who have been separated.

The Trump administration has created an immigration crisis in recent months. As of last week, almost 500 children were still in federal custody without their parents.

The proposed regulations would not take effect immediately.

Thursday's regulatory filing said the government would seek to terminate the Flores settlement, and put forward regulations it said "parallel the relevant and substantive terms" of the agreement. Once the proposal is published on Friday, the public will have 60 days to comment on it. "It is apparent that Defendants' Application is a cynical attempt", she wrote, "to shift responsibility to the Judiciary for over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered Executive action that have led to the current stalemate".

Trauma, suicidal feelings, dangerously inadequate medical care.

"What the administration is calling "legal loopholes" are actually basic standards for protecting children - standards they are trying to scrap to pursue an agenda of family incarceration that the government's own doctors have warned is harmful and unsafe for children", she said.

"Children and families do not belong in prison".

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