Children's Health Fund Condemns Administrative Efforts to Dismantle the Flores Settlement Agreement
A page from the Office of Inspector General report on widespread overcrowded and squalid conditions at migrant centers along the southern border. SOURCE: “Squalid Conditions at Border Detention Centers, Government Report Finds”, The New York Times, July 2, 2019.
The Flores Settlement Agreement, a court settlement from 1997 in response to unsafe conditions and indefinite detention of migrant children seeking safe haven, is instrumental to safeguarding some of the most vulnerable children in our society. Any changes to it has the potential to negatively impact the health and wellbeing of children.
Recent reports of unsanitary conditions in detention centers speak to the need to reinforce, not dismantle, legal regulations that ensure the health and wellbeing of children under governmental custody.
The agreement, initially targeting unaccompanied minors arriving at the border and later expanded to include children arriving with their families, limited government detention of children to 20 days. The new rule that will be published by the administration would lift limits allowing the government to hold these children indefinitely. It would also allow revisions to the minimum standards of care at detention centers.
“Dismantling this rule is inhumane and will have detrimental impacts on the mental and physical health of migrant children and families, including subjecting them to additional trauma and stress. As a pediatrician, and as an organization that puts the health and well being of ALL children in the US as a top priority, we firmly stand against efforts to dismantle the Flores Settlement.” said Dr. Kamillah Wood, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer, Children’s Health Fund.
The Children’s Health Fund is committed to ensuring that all children, regardless of immigration status, are given the opportunity to thrive. Unraveling the Flores Agreement is in direct violation of this principle and we condemn the administration’s new proposed rule.