Attorney General Becerra Leads Coalition Opposing Trump Administration’s Proposal Regarding Immigrant Children Detained by Federal Government

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

Coalition condemns proposed rule to circumvent Flores Agreement, which provides important protections for migrant children in detention

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a coalition of 18 attorneys general, today submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expressing significant concerns with their proposed regulations that would roll back protections for children held in immigrant detention facilities. Those protections are the result of a settlement in prior litigation, the Flores Settlement Agreement, which has afforded all immigrant children a right to be released from detention, set standards for their conditions of confinement, and provided meaningful oversight and monitoring of their care while in custody. The Administration is seeking to replace the protections in the settlement agreement with the new, less protective regulations.

“For decades, the Flores Agreement has set the standard for how long children can be held in custody and the conditions of their detention,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It is alarming that anyone would try to remove protections in place to ensure the safe and timely release of children into appropriate settings in our communities and with their families. The Trump Administration’s proposed rule would cruelly prolong children’s confinement, knowing there is ample evidence demonstrating the lasting harm that results from this detention.”

In the comment letter, the States:

  • Describe how the proposed rule contradicts important protections guaranteed by the Flores Settlement Agreement, including the presumption that all children are eligible for safe release into appropriate settings in a community;
  • Address constitutional concerns with the indefinite detention of children;
  • Call attention to the evidence showing that detention is not a deterrent to immigration;
  • Highlight how the proposed rule undermines state licensing of children’s residential placements, which is a fundamental police power traditionally belonging to the States; and
  • Discuss the ample evidence of lasting harm to children from detention.

Attorney General Becerra is joined by the Attorneys General of Massachusetts, Washington, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the letter is attached to the electronic version of this press release here.

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