The Flores Agreement Could Keep Families Separated Even Longer
The Flores Agreement is roughly 20 years old, but it’s become more widely known due to changes in immigration law and rhetoric in recent years. The Trump administration has now set its sights on changing the Flores Agreement, a decision that could leave thousands of migrant children and their families in a lurch.
Controversy Over Detained Migrant Children
Called a “Family Separation Crisis” by some news sources, the separation of migrant children from their families at the border has been one of the most controversial news stories of the year.
It all started in April of 2018, when Attorney General Sessions announced the administration’s decision to implement a zero tolerance policy. Under this policy, all adult migrants entering the country illegally would be criminally prosecuted. Children would be separated from parents, since they could not stay in adult detention facilities. Officials noted that this was a surefire way to deter possible migrants from entering the country.
By June 9, 2342 children had been separated from their parents and caretakers. The policy came to an end on June 20, when President Trump signed an order to keep families together at the border.
Proposed Changes to Flores Settlement Agreement
Many believe that June 20 was the end of the migrant child crisis. Unfortunately, however, hundreds of children still have not been reunited with their parents. And with proposed changes that would impact the Flores Agreement, reunification could be put off indefinitely.
Currently, the Flores Agreement only allows the state of Texas to keep children in family immigration detention centers for up to 20 days. A proposed change would end the Flores Agreement all together, and create alternatives to state-run family detention centers instead. This new legislation suggests that immigrants be kept in federally-run centers.
While states have tried to have detention centers licensed as childcare facilities to get around the 20-day limit, to date, those efforts have been unsuccessful. At the federal level, however, ICE could use this new law to create federal family detention centers that are licensed as childcare centers. If these efforts are successful, children could be detained indefinitely while their parents go through immigration hearings. Cases could last months, and possibly even years.
Protecting Your Immigration Rights
There’s a lot on the line for every family hoping to immigrate to the United States. While the proposed changes to the Flores Agreement may actually be implemented, the good news is that there is still hope. A Washington D.C. court determined that deterrence is not an acceptable reason to detain immigrants, and that there may be legal protections in place for those interested in calling the United States home.
Working with an experienced immigration lawyer in Texas can help ease the path towards becoming a naturalized citizen or permanent resident. Since regulations and laws are always evolving, you need a legal expert on your side.
Prepare for Your Immigration Case
The outcome of your immigration case could affect the rest of your life, so don’t try to do it all on your own. Get a free consultation today by calling the Elissa I. Henry Law Firm at (512) 766-4529.
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