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White House Makes Its Move Against Flores Agreement

Will issue new rule that would end 20-day limit on detaining migrant kids
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2019 9:35 AM CDT
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In this June 28, 2019, file photo, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan is seen during a news conference in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – The Flores agreement was put into place during the Clinton administration; the Trump administration is now formally trying to replace it. The federal consent decree has since 1997 put parameters around the detention of migrant children and teens. The new rule the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services say they will issue Friday would do away with the current 20-day limit on detaining the children in unlicensed facilities, allowing for indefinite detention; officials say they anticipate handling initial immigration screenings in more like 60 days under the new rule. As for 60 days, that's when the rule would typically go into effect, but the Washington Post reports officials are expecting a much lengthier timeline due to an expected court battle.

Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan characterized the "critical rule" like so: It "will permit the Department of Homeland Security to appropriately hold families together and improve the integrity of the immigration system." Officials say that under the new rule, the feds would institute their own licensing standards, which would involve third-party inspections and audits that the AP reports will be made public. The New York Times reports the administration argues that migrant parents capitalize on the Flores agreement by bringing their children with them to the border to act as a sort of "get-out-of-jail-free card," as families apprehended there are more likely to be released and are deported much less frequently. Their hope is that its end will act as a deterrence. (Read more migrants stories.)

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