Responding to Government Steps to Reduce Protections for Detained Children

In a push to roll back protections afforded to immigrant children, in September the government published draft regulations setting new standards for how children are treated while in government custody. The regulations are designed to supersede the Flores Settlement Agreement, a decades-old agreement which holds the government to protective standards when detaining immigrant children.  

CAIR Coalition opposes the proposed rule for numerous reasons. For the purposes of our comments (which can be read in full here), we focused on the provisions of the proposed rule speaking to, or impacting, “secure detention.” As experts in the provision of services to children held in jail-like secure facilities, we believe we have a unique perspective to add to the many objections being raised by the immigration advocacy community to the proposed rule.   

Chief among our objections to the proposed rule are:

  • The proposed rule will increase the use, length, and security level of children’s detention.  Children are at particularly vulnerable periods in their intellectual and emotional growth, and thus the adverse effects of any detention of them must be minimized and the period of that detention shortened to the maximum extent possible.
  • There are many provisions in the proposed rule that will allow the government to place more children in “secure detention,” which is the technical term for placing immigrant children in juvenile detention centers.
  • The proposed rule fails to provide adequate due process protections to immigrant children, including not providing adequate notice to children, their families, and their counsel as to the reasons underlying a child’s detention. Further, there are scant processes put into place to allow a child to challenge their detention.

On November 6, 2018, CAIR Coalition submitted comments in opposition to DHS Docket No. ICEB-2018-0002, RIN 0970-AC42 1653-AA 75, Proposed Rulemaking: Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children.