Trump administration has a plan to close “Flores” loophole
By Jennifer G. Hickey | September 7, 2018
The Trump administration this week rolled out a 203-page proposal that aims to reform the Flores agreement to give broader authority to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to set the standards for the detention of illegal immigrant children.
The DHS and Department of Health and Human Services formulated the changes to the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, the federal consent decree that has determined children cannot be held for longer than 20 days.
In a statement issued on Thursday, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen argued that “legal loopholes significantly hinder the Department’s ability to appropriately detain and promptly remove family units that have no legal basis to remain in the country.”
She continued, “This rule addresses one of the primary pull factors for illegal immigration and allows the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress.”
According to the rulemaking, which was entered into the Federal Register on Sept. 7, the proposed regulations would “ensure that the regulations accomplish a sound and proper implementation of governing federal statutes, and set forth a sustainable operational model of immigration enforcement.”
As FAIR Take noted last month, Republican Sens. Charles Grassley (Iowa), Thom Tillis (N.C.), and Ted Cruz (Texas), argued in a a joint op-ed that “ one simple step which could have prevented the family separations we now decry: repealing the Flores v. Reno consent decree as it relates to families.”
The rules already are facing fierce resistance from open border advocates and their allies in Congress, and could be headed for the courts soon. FAIR will keep you updated on the progress of this rulemaking and on any action in Congress to codify changes to the Flores agreement.