Washington, DC — The Department of Homeland Security is taking aim at a longstanding legal settlement providing standards for the fair and humane treatment of children in immigration custody. Their new regulations on the Flores Settlement Agreement would decimate protections for children and families in custody. It would also remove key protections of unaccompanied children and fundamentally change the way we treat these vulnerable children.
Statement from KIND President Wendy Young:
“For decades children and adults have suffered horrific treatment in federal custody that are well known for their unsanitary, frigid, and inhumane conditions.
“These facilities are not only inappropriate for children, but expose children to increased risk of harm, in light of rampant abuse, mistreatment, and lacking medical care. It is outrageous that, after tearing thousands of children from their parents, the Administration is focused not on their reunification but on condemning other children to harsh treatment.
“We know that many children are fleeing harrowing violence and abuse in their home countries. Due process requires that these children be given a fair chance to tell their stories to ensure they are not returned to harm. The proposed rule further stacks the deck against these children.
“We are also very concerned that the proposed rule allows the government to potentially re-evaluate and potentially re-determine a child’s status as an unaccompanied child even after a child’s case has begun—a move that could strip children of critical child-appropriate protections and procedures, and frustrate access to due process and humanitarian protection.
“We are deeply alarmed by the sweeping changes the Administration is proposing and urge everyone to speak up and out about these ongoing attacks on children and families.”
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-631-9990