PHOENIX — The Latest on a longstanding settlement agreement that governs the detainment of immigrant children (all times local):
The U.S. government has taken a major step to end a decades-old agreement governing the conditions and length of time in which immigrant children can be held.
Government attorneys filed a notice of termination for what’s largely known as the Flores settlement agreement on Friday night.
They say there have been significant changes in the law and in practice since the agreement was signed in 1997 and that new federal regulations issued last week implement the terms of the agreement.
The agreement is supposed to end when the government has adopted its rules through regulation. But immigrant advocates say the new regulation, which would allow the government to detain families with children for much longer than it’s allowed now, “would eviscerate the settlement’s crucial protections for vulnerable children.”
The government’s request has to be approved by a judge.
Attorneys have asked a judge to reject Trump administration plans to detain migrant families longer than they’re allowed now and to remove court oversight of how children are treated in government custody.
The attorneys in a court filing on Friday asked U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee to block the government from implementing the rules, saying prolonged detention causes life-long trauma and that children in government custody are sometimes held in deplorable conditions.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it would create regulations on how migrant children are treated.
About 475,000 families have crossed the border so far this budget year, nearly three times the previous full-year record for families.
On Monday, 19 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit over the Trump administration’s effort.
The Associated Press