The Trump administration unveiled a new rule that will allow migrant families to be held indefinitely, ending a procedure known as the “Flores Agreement” that had required children to be held no longer than 20 days.
President Donald Trump and his xenophobic supporters have long complained against the seminal 1997 court ruling that required the government to provide a minimum standard of care for migrant children in custody.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said that the Flores rule is the primary driver for Central American families coming to the U.S. border, and that, once it is ended, numbers will drop dramatically.
In 2015, as the Obama administration struggled to respond to an influx of unaccompanied minors at the southern border, the Flores rule was strengthened.
Generally, the government must release children as quickly as possible and cannot detain them longer than 20 days, whether they have traveled to the U.S. alone or with family members.
Despite his draconian policies and inhumane treatment of people seeking a better life in America, Trump has largely failed to deter near-record migration to the southern border.
A number of immigrant children and adults have died in U.S. custody, and authorities have repeatedly been caught providing sub-standard care for detainees, who are mostly Central American families seeking asylum.
Some facilities holding unaccompanied migrant children are operating illegally without licenses and committing several other violations, according to a team of lawyers who oversee a court-ordered agreement dictating where — and how — the government can house the children.
Peter Schey, a lawyer for the immigrant children in the Flores case and president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, said the new regulations are politically motivated.
“I think all these things are now part of the 2020 campaign,” said Schey, who vowed to challenge the regulations if they don’t match the settlement because the Trump administration, “would be in immediate material breach, if not contempt of court.”
The right of asylum is an ancient juridical concept, recognized by the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Hebrews, from whom it was adopted into Western tradition.
It is protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee.
That “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” is enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Under these agreements, a refugee is a person who is outside that person’s own country’s territory owing to fear of persecution on protected grounds, including race, caste, nationality, religion, political opinions and participation in any particular social group or social activities.
Since World War II, more refugees have found homes in the U.S. than any other nation and more than two million refugees have arrived in the U.S. since 1980.
During the first decade of the 21st century, due to fear and insecurity, the United States decreased the number of refugees accepted each year.
Parents and children coming into the country are often released into the U.S. while their asylum requests wind their way through the courts — a practice Trump has derided as “catch-and-release.”
As we reported last week, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested nearly 700 people in sweeping raids in Mississippi, nearly half of those detained at several food-processing plants had been released within a day.
The practice appears to contradict the GOP administration’s promise to end “catch and release” and to detain illegal immigrants until they are deported but Trump consistently says one thing and does another.
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