LA County Opposes Trump Administration’s Proposal to Detain Migrant Children and Families Indefinitely

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Trump Administration has proposed terminating the Flores Settlement Agreement to erase decades of hard-fought protections of detained immigrant children. Today, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, objecting to this proposed rule to remove court-imposed time limits on the detention of migrant children.

“No child, regardless of immigration status, should be forcibly detained indefinitely in facilities that resemble jails. Yet, that is the intent of this Administration’s proposed rule. Without these court-ordered protections, migrant children will continue to endure tremendous cruelty under this Administration,” said Supervisor Solis. “This proposed rule is inhumane and targets the most vulnerable: immigrant children and their families. Los Angeles County will not stand idly by as this Administration tries to eliminate its basic human duty for the basic care of children who are coming to this country with their families to escape poverty and violence.”

“Recently, the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services have proposed circumventing a court ruling limiting the amount of time any government may detain migrant children to 20 days. They would like to be able to detain children indefinitely, potentially for years, despite the profound and negative impact that would have on children’s physical and mental health,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “This motion asks every County department potentially affected by this inhumane proposal to reject it, and I hope County residents will take the opportunity to submit public comment before the November 6 deadline as well.”

In place since 1997, the Flores agreement limits the length of time and conditions under which U.S. officials can detain child migrants. Currently, immigrant children cannot be detained for more than 20 days, are kept at licensed facilities, and must be given food, drinking water, emergency medical attention, and bathrooms. The Trump Administration has proposed detaining children and their parents indefinitely at Immigration and Customs Enforcement residential facilities that operate similarly to jails as their cases go through immigration courts.

Prolonged detention in jail-like settings can adversely affect a child’s well-being, and many of these children may later resettle in LA County. As a result, the County may bear the economic and social costs of helping traumatized individuals after their release from detention. The proposed rule is not final, and members of the public have until Nov. 6, 2018 to submit a written comment by clicking here.

“Indefinitely detaining children in jail-like facilities violates their human rights. LA County has a mandate to protect the rights of immigrants and their families,” continued Supervisor Solis. “Los Angeles County is home to about 3.5 million immigrants and our regional economy benefits from their entrepreneurial spirit. They are homeowners, business owners, and college students. We all must oppose the proposed rule, and I encourage everyone to speak out against it. I urge everyone to submit a public comment, demanding that the federal government uphold the Flores settlement.”

Indefinite detainment can reduce an individual’s access to legal counsel, which may limit a detainee’s chances of prevailing in an immigration case. Immigrants represented by an attorney are 20 times more likely to get immigration relief than immigrants without an attorney, according to a 2016 American Immigrant Council study.  Immigrants in detention, however, are the least likely to gain access to representation, with only 14 percent obtaining legal representation.

This motion instructs County Counsel, in consultation with the Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Department of Health Services, the Los Angeles Office of Education, and other potentially affected County Departments and agencies, to join with the City of Los Angeles in submitting a public comment against this proposed new regulation.

Today’s action marks the 31st immigration motion Supervisor Solis has authored to protect, defend, and fight for the rights of immigrants since the 2016 presidential election. Her efforts include a motion to create sensitive locations throughout the County, a $3 million dollar contribution to the LA Justice Fund, and the creation of the first-ever County Office of Immigrant Affairs. To view a complete list of these actions, please click here.

 

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Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Communications Director, (213) 359-0795 or rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov

By |2018-10-30T21:48:35+00:00October 30th, 2018|Categories: In the news, Press Release|0 Comments