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Rep. Chu Condemns “Heartless and Vindictive” Changes to Detention Policies for Immigrant Children

September 6, 2018
Press Release

Washington D.C. - Today, the Trump Administration announced that it would be promulgating regulations to terminate the Flores Settlement, the agreement that ensures that the welfare of children is prioritized when they are in the custody of the federal government. The Flores Settlement ensures that children who are detained be placed in the least restrictive setting within three days of entering custody, and that the placements where children are sent be licensed by the state child welfare agency. This agreement became an obstacle to the administration’s implementation of their zero tolerance policy for immigrants, which required imprisoning immigrants and separating children from parents, both of which have been shown to have serious emotional and psychological impacts on children. Therefore, in order to continue the imprisonment-focused family detention policy, the proposed regulations would allow the administration to hold children in inhumane detention conditions indefinitely, and gives the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency the authority to establish family residential detention standards. This proposed rule would affect both children who come over the border with family and unaccompanied minors, swelling the number of imprisoned immigrant youth. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), who has visited a number of immigrant detention facilities, released the following statement:

“This rule is a heartless and vindictive response to the public’s outrage over Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy that separated children from families. The Flores Settlement was established to ensure that the best interest of the child was taken into consideration as their immigration status was being determined. But President Trump and Stephen Miller want to throw concern for children out the window in order to bolster their propaganda that all immigrants are criminals, thereby justifying their policy of imprisonment. Worse, the new regulations will not only put more children in prison, but will guarantee they are treated worse than they already are. In addition to their myriad problems in carrying out their existing mission, ICE is not qualified to take care of these children and has no training or background in child welfare. We must not inflict further trauma on these immigrant children by holding them in detention facilities like prisoners indefinitely. The administration should be considering alternatives to detention that will keep families and children together, while ensuring their well-being and health is not jeopardized.”