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  • U.S. Border Patrol Migrant Camp

    U.S. Border Patrol Migrant Camp | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 September 2019

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee has stopped a Trump regulation which contradicts the Flores Agreement

In California, a Judge blocked Friday the application of a new law from the Trump administration which would allow the indefinite detention of migrant families, in direct contradiction with the 1997 Flores agreement, a settlement that sets standards for the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody, Reuters reports.

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The settlement agreement originated when Jenny Flores, a 15-year-old Salvadoran immigrant, reported a complaint on her behalf. The case, which involved the Supreme Court and was later settled between the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and the federal government is still the acting regulation for kids in detention and often results in their fast release alongside their families.

According to The Washington Post, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee issued her ruling after hearing arguments from the Justice Department and immigrantion lawyers in the Central District of California, the same area where the parties reached the agreement 22 years ago.

Quoted in The New York Times, the judge said it is congress' responsibility to pass a new law and not the president's, especially this type of decree that requires children to be held in state-licensed facilities and released in most cases within 20 days.

President Trump has said the Flores Agreement is a “loophole” in the system. His administration issued the new rule on August 23rd and it would have been active next month, Reuters continued.

A Department of Justice spokesman said they were disappointed. The government is expected to appeal the decision, which means it might get to the Supreme Court.

The Flores Agreement allowed lawyers to visit overcrowded Border Patrol facilities along the Texas border and report to Judge Gee on children in uncomfortable and inhumane conditions, The New York Times said.

The government argues large court backlogs usually result in migrant families with children skipping court. It can be years until a case is completed in such courts. If President Trump's regulation is applied, migrant kids would be put in prison-like conditions during the detention period. 

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