Trump administration proposes rules to weaken long-standing agreement that protects immigrant children

Written by: Sarah Barnes
Date Posted: September 14, 2018

The Trump administration released proposed rules that would make significant changes to a long-standing agreement that protects the safety and well-being of immigrant children in the United States. Known as the Flores Settlement Agreement, it protects immigrant children by limiting the length of time that children can be detained in connection with immigration matters and controlling the conditions under which they can be held. The proposed rules would allow the administration to hold children in detention facilities not subject to state licensing requirements. They would also make it easier for children to be held with their parents in family detention centers for longer periods of time. Currently, courts have determined that children can be held with their parents in family detention centers for no more than 20 days.

Holding children in detention, even with their parents, has significant and long-lasting consequences for children’s safety, health, development and well-being, and family detention is not an acceptable alternative to the administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border. Studies show that children who are detained experience trauma, stress, and anxiety, and that detainment may cause developmental delays and long-term mental health risks for children. Community-based solutions, such as remaining in the community and being connected with case management and legal services, have been shown to be effective alternatives to family detention.

The proposed rules are open for public comment until November 6, 2018. The Children’s Campaign will submit comments opposing the proposed rules. Stay tuned for a draft template that you can use to submit comments on the proposed rules.

Sarah Barnes

About Sarah Barnes

Sarah serves as the Policy Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign in September 2014, Sarah taught middle school English and worked as an Interventionist at Pioneer Charter School in Denver. She was a 2011 Teach For America corps member. Prior to teaching, Sarah worked as an attorney in Denver in the areas of venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate and business law, and commercial transactions. Sarah earned a BA in English from Midland University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.