Immigrants’ Rights Groups Decry New Child-Detention Policy

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
Photo Credit: Unsplash

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Migrant children and their families could be held in camps almost indefinitely while their request for asylum plays out in court – the result of a new final rule announced by the Trump administration on Wednesday August 21.

The rule weakens the decades-old Flores court settlement that said the federal government can only hold children for 20 days.

Karina Martinez, communications director for the group Mi Familia Vota, says the president is causing migrant children to suffer in order to appeal to his anti-immigrant base.

“We should be a leader in protecting vulnerable populations, not manipulating odds against them,” she states.

The new rule does codify some basic standards on conditions in immigration holding facilities.

The administration says the changes are needed to reduce the number of migrants released while they wait for a court date and maintains this will deter more families from seeking asylum.

Federal immigration agents report encountering 475,000 families at the border in the past 10 months, three times the year before.

The Trump administration first proposed the new rule last fall as it had to retreat from a policy of separating children from their parents at the border.

Martinez says President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies embolden people whose racism then turns to violence.

“We’re seeing the complete dehumanization of migrant populations, and that leads to violence when people are treated as subhuman,” she states. “We saw the results in Gilroy. We saw the results in El Paso.”

The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Friday and is supposed to take effect 60 days after that.

Immigration rights groups have pledged to challenge the rule in court.