The Trump Administration Now Wants to Indefinitely Lock up Immigrant Children

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Kirstjen Nielsen's Department of Homeland Security said it plans to sidestep a court order limiting the amount of time it can jail immigrant children. - DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Kirstjen Nielsen's Department of Homeland Security said it plans to sidestep a court order limiting the amount of time it can jail immigrant children.
No longer able to separate immigrant families, the Trump administration now says it will pitch out a longstanding court order that requires immigrant children be released after 20 days in detention.

Homeland Security officials said ending the 1997 Flores Agreement would accelerate its handling of immigration cases while deterring illegal border crossings. Under the proposed change, the government could hold families in detention until their cases are completed — potentially for years.

"The Trump administration has found a new low in the family separation crisis: seeking indefinite imprisonment of children," said Efren C. Olivares, racial and economic justice director for the Texas Civil Rights Project. "For months, we watched in horror as children were ripped from their parents, but the remedy for family separation is not, and never will be, indefinitely locking up whole families in immigration prisons."

President Trump signed a July 20 executive order ending the separation policy, saying the feds would instead hold families together in immigrant detention centers as their cases are processed.

The administration's latest move is all but certain to unleash a court battle. But, hey, that hasn't exactly stopped it before.



“It is sickening to see the United States government looking for ways to jail more children for longer,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “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.”

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