Immigrant children could be detained for longer periods of time in harsher, jail-like detention centers

The administration’s family detention rule gut a decades-old agreement, called the Flores Settlement Agreement, which ensures that immigrant children who enter the U.S. are treated humanely. Without its legal protections, the government doesn’t have to meet any standards on the conditions of its immigration detention centers, and it doesn’t have any limits on how long it can jail children.

Children are being detained an average of 59 days, up from 35 days in 2016.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/CNN

Being detained causes long-term trauma in children.

Human rights advocates and child welfare experts condemn detaining children. Research shows that even brief periods of detention can cause long-lasting psychological trauma for children, including anxiety, depression, attention-deficit disorder (ADD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

There were many, many people [in detention]. I saw a young woman who was seven months pregnant with a 1-year-old baby. They had been in the icebox for a week. They were sleeping on the floor, covered with aluminum blankets, and they could barely move from the cold.

Ana

from El Salvador