[Headlines from DRJ]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled new rules that would allow officials to detain migrant families indefinitely while judges consider whether to grant them asylum in the United States.
The rules, which are certain to draw a legal challenge, would replace a 1997 legal agreement that limits the amount of time U.S. immigration authorities can detain migrant children. That agreement is generally interpreted as meaning families must be released within 20 days.
Administration officials blame the so-called Flores Settlement Agreement for a spike in immigration, especially of Central American families, saying it encourages migrants to bring children with them so they can be released into the United States while their court cases are pending.
The Administration initially tried to deal with Flores by separating children from adults but the public relations and legal fallout presented serious problems.
In related news, DC Mayor blocks planned shelter:
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has moved to block the Trump administration’s construction of a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children in the district.
The Washington Post reported that Bowser blocked the shelter’s construction by using emergency regulations that bar the city’s child welfare agency from issuing licenses to facilities that house more than 15 people.
There was opposition to the Mayor’s decision:
According to the Post, six residents in the district who once held senior positions in the Department of Health and Human Services under former President Obama had written to Bowser last week, urging the mayor to reconsider opposition to the planned shelter.
“While the District’s intent in opposing an unaccompanied children’s shelter is noble, such action is unlikely to benefit children and may make it more likely that children are harmed, forcing longer stays in crowded Customs and Border Protection facilities or in massive temporary shelters that are not licensed by a state or local child welfare agency,” they wrote, according to the outlet.
The Mayor presented her decision as based on concern for the welfare of children in large facilities that might not be properly staffed or supervised. That is a legitimate concern but the existing detention centers are already overwhelmed.