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Pili Tobar on Administration’s Unilateral Flores Regulation Changes

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“Families and children should be free and in homes with their loved ones, not jailed indefinitely in unsafe and uncertified facilities.”

The following is a statement from Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, regarding the finalization of the Trump administration’s regulation to allow for more and longer detention of children under weaker standards of care, otherwise known as the Flores regulation. For an in-depth analysis of the proposed regulation, see this DHS Watch’s statement: “Why the Trump Administration’s Proposed Flores Regulation is Unacceptable and Demands a Vociferous Challenge.” DHS Watch will be issuing an updated analysis of the final regulation later today.

This regulation proves, once again, the Trump administration’s eagerness to endanger the lives and safety of children. This year alone, we’ve seen a startling number of children die in Customs and Border Protection custody. We’ve seen countless studies that document the long-term psychological and physical damage for the children being held and abused in detention. We’ve seen the public outrage as reports of children locked in horrid conditions in cages emerge.

There is a much better way forward. Families and children should be free and in homes with their loved ones, not jailed indefinitely in unsafe and uncertified facilities.

To justify this cruelty, Trump and his toadies at DHS recite their mantra of “catch and release” — a term that should be used for fish not children. Their propaganda is based on math simply doesn’t add up. A recent study from Syracuse University’s TRAC report found that ‘almost six out of every seven families released from custody had shown up for their initial court hearing… For those who are represented, more than 99 percent had appeared at every hearing held.’ These are facts based on the government’s own statistics. They stand in direct contrast to the discredited DHS claim that 90% of families don’t show up for hearings.

There are proven, less expensive and more humane alternatives to the indefinite detention of kids and families. Family case management programs are much less expensive than detention, ensure that kids are safe and with loved ones, and have an excellent track record in ensuring compliance with hearing dates and asylum decisions.

But this administration isn’t interested in proposing balanced solutions or respecting basic humanity, only in causing fear and terror. This is an all-out assault on human rights from a nation that once purported to stand for human rights. It should not stand.