After Failing to Reunite Children, the Next Sad Chapter Unfolds
Leading advocates and issue experts have swiftly condemned the Trump administration for its push to replace the Flores Settlement with new regulations that would lead to the indefinite detention of children in unlicensed facilities.
The last thing we need to do is to expose children to even longer detention under weaker conditions as the Trump administration is proposing. Medical and psychological experts all agree that detention, including family detention, is no place for children, let alone under inhumane conditions, and especially when there are viable and workable alternatives available. This proposed regulation is unacceptable and should be challenged.
These draft regulations are an attempt to gut basic standards on conditions for detaining children in the federal government’s custody, which include the provision of water and meals, among others. Upon the establishment of the Flores Settlement, the government has continually failed to meet the standards outlined in the agreement. Now it wants to drop the bar even lower. The Trump administration has been whittling away at the basic rights of women and children since they came into office. Efforts to weaken or eliminate basic child protection standards by calling them loopholes and eliminating their obligations for the basic care of children is just another example of this administration’s abdication of human rights.
Treating children humanely and not detaining them in often intolerable conditions is not a legal loophole, as the Secretary of Homeland Security claims. It is the way civilized nations treat vulnerable children with due regard to their tender age and lack of culpability for the circumstances in which they find themselves.
There’s a reason we have Flores in the first place, and that is to protect children. Period. Given any number of recent reports on the abuses of children in immigration custody, we need these common-sense protections more than ever.
It is sickening to see the United States government looking for ways to jail more children for longer. That’s the complete opposite of what we should be doing — and it’s yet another example of the Trump administration’s hostility toward immigrants resulting in a policy incompatible with the most basic human values.