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Rep. Grijalva on Final Rule to Upend Flores Settlement Agreement

TUCSON—Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued the following statement after the U.S. departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services released a joint final rule to overturn the Flores Agreement Settlement and allow for the indefinite incarceration of children and families.

“The Trump Administration’s latest action to indefinitely place children and their families in detention will further traumatize asylum seekers, including young children, and shows that his administration has no limits on the lasting harm they are willing to inflict,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Attempting to end the Flores Settlement Agreement, which mandates children are not held in detention except in extraordinary circumstances and establishes humane standards for the treatment of minors, is an assault on human dignity, justice and our legal system.

Already, there have been numerous abuse allegations and deaths of children under the custody of DHS and HHS. The conditions in these for-profit detention facilities are squalid and incapable of providing basic needs. This Administration has taken such a dark turn that our courts have had to step in to ensure that adequate food, medical care and hygienic products are provided to children and families. The cruelty and trauma that detained children and their families have endured under this Administration are unconscionable.

Seeking asylum is not a crime and asylum seekers should not be placed in facilities that profit from human suffering. No length of detention is safe for children. I have long supported alternatives to detention that respect the dignity of children and families, and have a proven record of actually working.

Trump and his advisors have doubled-down on the abuse of defenseless children as a re-election strategy. I support legal challenges to this latest campaign tactic by Trump and demand that Congress initiate legislative and investigative roadblocks to this violation of judicial precedent and inhumane executive actions. His administration should be held in contempt for their blatant violations of the laws protecting children.”

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