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 could be held in jail-like detention centers for long periods of time. They wouldn’t be guaranteed access to basic necessities, like food and water or access to medical treatment.Vox
The administration is already failing to protect detained children — even with the Flores agreement in place. Children in custody report facing a range of abuses, including verbal abuse, sexual assault, enforced hunger, untenable sleeping conditions, and unsanitary drinking water.Huffington Post
The family detention rule would allow the government to jail more families while they wait for their legal hearings — which often takes months and can stretch out for years.Associated Press
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 is a public health issue that 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.”
from El Salvador
The Trump-Pence administration is already building its capacity to detain more immigrant families for longer periods of time. Immigrant detention centers are planning to add thousands of beds, and the administration is considering holding 20,000 additional undocumented children on military bases.Vox