DHS changes child detention rules
by Harvest Prude
Posted 8/22/19, 12:21 pm
WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is removing limits on how long the government can detain migrant children. The move allows officials to hold migrant families together until the courts decide their cases. The new rule is set to take effect in about 60 days, but legal challenges are already in the works.
Why the change? According to a settlement in the 1997 Flores v. Reno case, the U.S. government must release migrant children from detention as quickly as possible, generally after 20 days. Flores was supposed to be a temporary measure until the government released formal regulations, but later administrations relied on the settlement instead of making new rules. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Wednesday said the move “closes the legal loophole.” Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, said the change will “keep young children and their parents in the horrifying conditions of these detention facilities as they await their asylum hearings for months and even years.” But McAleenan said officials do not intend to hold families that long.
Dig deeper: Read Charissa Koh’s report in Compassion on how Christians are caring for migrants at the border.
Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.