Trump Administration Set to End ‘Flores Settlement Agreement’, Wants to Detain Migrant Families Indefinitely

According to a report from ABC News, the Trump Administration is reportedly preparing to roll out a new plan that would allow for the indefinite, long-term detention of migrant families — including young children and infants. 

Reports indicate that the Trump Administration will move to unilaterally terminate key provisions of the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA). Most importantly, the Trump Administration wants to end the 20-day limit on the detention of migrant children.  

Here, our California immigration attorney explains the Trump Administration’s latest attack on basic migrant rights. 

What is the Flores Settlement Agreement?

Sadly, the United States government has a long history of mishandling and mistreating migrant children. In 1997, the Flores Settlement Agreement was reached to help address this problem. Among other things, Flores prevents the U.S. government from detaining any migrant children for more than 20 days. If a child is denied, whether accompanied by a parent or travelling without an adult, Flores requires the U.S. government to release them to a safe place within 20 days. 

By moving to end the Flores Settlement Agreement, the Trump Administration is directly attacking one of the most important safeguards for migrant children. The termination of the agreement would open the door to the indefinite detention of families and young children. This comes at a time when very serious issues are being raised related to poor health and safety conditions within ICE detention facilities

The Reaction to the Administration’s Latest Attack on Immigrant Rights

Many activists, political leaders, and immigrant rights organizations have already condemned the administration’s proposal. The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) called the move “cruel beyond imagination.” The Congressional Hispanic Caucus noted that the administration is pushing for indefinite detention despite knowing that it will cause “irreparable trauma” for children. 

Legal Challenges are Expected

It is far from clear that the Trump Administration has the authority to terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement. Quite the contrary, some observers have called this proposed action one of the most “legally suspect” moves made by the administration. Most notably, attorney Peter Schey of the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law — the man who filed the original lawsuit in the mid-1980s that eventually led to the Flores Settlement — told the New York Times that the Trump Administration’s proposed rules charge would be an abrogation of its duties under the law. Lawsuits are expected to be filed as soon as the proposal is officially published. 

We Advocate for Immigrants in California

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our Los Angeles immigration lawyer is committed to helping clients overcome obstacles across the full range of immigration matters. To set up a completely confidential case evaluation, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (213) 262-2000. From our office in Downtown Los Angeles, we serve communities all around the region, including Anaheim, San Bernardino, Pasadena, Long Beach, and Santa Monica.