A Trump administration overhaul of the standards that govern the treatment of migrant children in U.S custody is dangerous for children. The new regulation, announced today, would allow migrant families to be detained indefinitely, in direct contravention to a 22-year-old consent decree known as the Flores agreement and decades of research on child development and child well-being.
The rule encourages inappropriate detention when mountains of evidence have shown the short- and long-term consequences to children—children who have in many cases faced violence and trauma in their home countries. What’s more, it would allow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to operate facilities under its own self-licensing regime rather than applicable state child welfare and safety laws, as well as the standards set by the Flores agreement. This alternative licensing scheme is particularly troublesome because of the failure DHS has already shown to properly care for immigrant children and adults in its custody.
Policy by policy, rule by rule, this administration is perpetuating cruelty toward children and families with its anti-immigrant policies. This latest regulation completely flouts the protections guaranteed by the Flores agreement, and it must not go forward.