The Law Office of
Mark Kinzler, P.C.

US sidesteps agreement with plans to detain immigrants longer

Since the late 1990s, there has been an agreement in place designed to keep children of immigrants coming into Texas or other states in the least-restrictive setting possible. The so-called Flores agreement, based on a 1997 case, also requires children to be released to family members after 20 days of detention. The Department of Homeland Security is proposing an end to this policy, which could result in children and families being detained longer. Part of the reason for the move is to deter individuals from crossing the border illegally.

The immigration detention agreement became an issue due to the enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy aimed at anyone entering the country illegally. This resulted in nearly 3,000 children of immigrants being separated from their parents, which sparked widespread criticism and accusations of inhumane treatment. Officials responded by saying the move was made because children couldn't be kept in criminal custody with their parents. The current procedure is to house immigrants who came over the border illegally in operational family detention centers.

The Department of Homeland Security has since asked for space for more than 10,000 additional beds and room to house approximately 20,000 minors not accompanied by parents or adults. Legal and environmental requirements for this request have already been completed. The proposed rule change would allow families to be detained until their cases are heard by a judge and a decision is made. Immigration officials contend doing so will provide an added incentive to speed up the legal processes required when immigrants are held. However, immigration supporters are opposed to the change.

When immigration detention is an issue, an attorney can take steps to determine if rights are being upheld. This may include determining if efforts were made to keep children with their families during the detention period. An attorney can also provide assistance with the process of obtaining legal citizenship. In some situations, an immigration lawyer may attempt to stop ordered deportations.

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The Law Office of
Mark Kinzler, P.C.

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