The Trump administration recently announced new proposed regulations that would slash long-standing legal protections for immigrant families, allowing the government to detain children indefinitely. This move is the latest in a series of efforts to undermine the 1997 Floressettlement – a crucial legal safeguard that ensures children cannot be detained in federal custody for longer than 20 days and can only be held in facilities that are licensed by state governments to provide adequate child care.
Specifically, the administration’s new regulations would permit the government to detain children with their parents for the entirety of their asylum proceedings – which can drag on for months or longer – and allow federal authorities to license facilities directly as family detention centers, rather than relying on approval by state governments. If accepted, these regulations would expose more children to the traumatizing practice of prolonged detention, while removing a layer of scrutiny in a detention system that is already reckless, abusive, and deadly.
And during the coming week, Congress will be considering legislation that would pour billions more dollars into immigration detention and enforcement as well as enacting policies that would allow the indefinite detention of children with their parents who enter the United States without documentation.