First Family Separation...Now a Removal of Protections is Proposed!
The administration’s “zero tolerance” policy separated immigrant families at the border, causing public outcry. In response, the administration has taken steps to reduce separations at the border--
but on Sept. 7th instead proposed another damaging practice of jailing immigrant families and children together for indefinite periods of time while their immigration cases are processed.
How Have Children in Detention Been Protected in Recent Decades?
Almost 30 years ago, a young girl named Jenny Flores fled El Salvador to seek safety with her aunt in the U.S. Instead of being released into the arms of a loved one, Jenny was apprehended at the border and locked in a detention facility, strip searched, and detained with adults she did not know. A class-action lawsuit eventually brought the abuses of children in detention to the attention of the courts, which established a set of protections in 1997 for children in custody, referred to as
standards have required:
1) Children must be released from custody without delay and preferences release to a parent;
Or, when they cannot be released because of public safety or flight risk concerns,
2) Children must be held in the least restrictive setting; generally, in a non-secure facility
licensed by a child welfare entity.
How Would the Proposed New Rule Harm Children?
The proposed regulation, titled “Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children,” would:
1) Dismantle Flores settlement protections for children
2) Allow for the indefinite detention of immigrant children and families
3) Reject more humane, 99% effective, far less expensive alternatives to mass