The Flores Settlement: Myth v. Fact
Myth: Flores is a law making the government separate children.
FACT: The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement (Flores) was the result of over a decade of litigation responding to the U.S. government’s detention policy of children. The agreement set national standards regarding the detention, release, and treatment of all children in immigration detention and underscores the principle of family unity.
It requires that:
Myth: The government only started separating children because of the Flores settlement.
FACT: The Trump Administration has chosen to implement a criminal prosecution policy of asylum seekers that is separating children from their parents. This policy is new, has never been done before, and is directly responsible for the systematic separations. When a parent is sent to U.S. Marshals custody, their child is rendered unaccompanied and sent to the custody of HHS.
Myth: The government is restricted by Flores in how long it can detain a child.
FACT: Flores requires a preference for release but except:
Myth: The government must detain families.
FACT: Long-term detention of mothers and children is not the solution to the trauma caused by family separation. There are more humane and cost efficient alternatives that have proven effective. The Family Case Management Program which President Trump terminated, allows families to be released together and monitored by caseworkers. Despite claims that families won’t show up for court, the program has a 99% success rate of court attendance.
Myth: There is a new law that didn’t force previous presidents to separate families
FACT: The Obama Administration litigated issues around the Flores settlement when it reopened family detention facilities. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals asserted the settlement only applied to children and that mothers may be released from detention with their kids. The court’s decision did not force the Obama Administration to begin separating families. Separation is a Trump policy.