New rule extends time undocumented children spend in detention centers


A new rule by the Trump administration wants to extend the time undocumented children could be held in detention centers.

Illegal immigrates crossing into America always face the possibility of arrest. This means waiting in detention centers until their cases are heard.

In 1997, the Flores Settlement Agreement established the guideline that children can’t be held for more than 20 days.

The proposed new rule says:

“Specifically, minors who are in expedited removal proceedings whose credible-fear determination is still pending or who lack a credible fear and are awaiting removal are more likely to be held until removal can be effectuated. Furthermore, minors who have been found to have a credible fear or who are otherwise in INA section 240 proceedings, and who pose a flight risk or danger if released, are more likely to be held until the end of their removal proceedings, although limited bed space in FRCs imposes a significant constraint on custody of this cohort.” 

In a press conference, acting homeland security secretary Kevin McAleena said “By closing this key loophole in Flores, the new rule will restore integrity to our immigration system and eliminate the major pull factor fueling the crisis,” said McAleena.

The Flores settlement he’s talking about was established in 1997 as a way to protect undocumented children.

The new rules takes some of the guidelines into account but makes changes as well.

“There are some safeguards that are incorporated into there that are trying to mirror some of the safeguards in the settlement agreement but they are also some changes the big one is obviously the fact that children can be held in detention centers with their families for more than 20 days,” said Lucrecia Z. Knapp, Senior Associate, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP.

In regards to the major pull factor fueling the crisis, one lawyer thinks this rule will do nothing.

“He[President Trump] thinks that is will dissuade people from coming here. it won’t. it’ll just make the process more creative, but it won’t keep them out,” said Anthony Guidice, Immigration attorney.

The proposal has a 60 day period to be challenged attorney think any lawsuit will focus on two main concerns.

“Constitutionality, can you hold children indefinitely, does that violates their due process rights and then also whether this new rule does incorporate the safety mechanisms that were in place for children under the Flores settlement agreement,” said Guidice.

The rule was published today. There is a 60 day waiting period before it takes effect. Courts can challenge the rule in that time.

Attorneys we talked to say it unlikely to go into effect because of the possibility of lawsuits.

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