Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement directing LA County’s Chief Executive Officer for Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations to support U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill, the Protecting Immigrant Families and Improving Immigration Procedures Act (S. 1733), which would prohibit the federal government from ending the 1997 court-ordered Flores Agreement:

“The federal Administration’s intent to repeal the Flores Settlement Agreement will inflict irreparable harm on defenseless migrant children who have come to the United States with their families to escape violence in their home countries. They are asylum seekers and refugees who are arriving at our borders in desperate search of safety and a new life. These vulnerable families, and especially children, deserve to be treated humanely, and Sen. Feinstein’s bill would help ensure these individuals are treated more justly.

Sen. Feinstein’s bill would provide additional judges and staff to help clear the backlog of immigration court cases, prohibit the separation of families at the border unless good cause is determined by a state official or a child welfare expert, and would end efforts by this Administration to repeal the Flores Settlement Agreement, a long-standing court order that prevents migrant children from being subject to prolonged detention apart from their families. The Flores Settlement Agreement also states that children must have access to food, clean water, and basic levels of health care. S.1733 would also provide lawyers for unaccompanied young children and toddlers so they do not have to represent themselves in immigration court proceedings. For children who appeared in court with legal representation, only 12 percent were deported. In contrast, over 80 percent of children who showed up to court unrepresented were deported.

A migrant child is not less than human. These children and toddlers must be treated humanely while in the custody of the federal government. In recent months, at least seven migrant children have died at federal detention facilities.

America has been, and always will be, a nation of immigrants. The refugees and asylum seekers arriving at our borders deserve compassion, not the appallingly cruel policies established and enforced under this Administration.

By supporting this bill, we continue our mission to protect vulnerable immigrant children and keep families together.”

Today’s action marks the 42nd 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, rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov or 213-359-0795