New Rule would Indefinitely Incarcerate Families
Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today condemned the Trump Administration’s decision to indefinitely incarcerate refugee children and their families. In response to the rule that attempts to terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement, Human Rights First’s Jennifer Quigley issued the following statement:
The inhumanity of this administration knows no bounds. Children should not be incarcerated. Period. At a time when millions of children around the country are headed back to school, President Trump and anti-immigrant extremists in the White House have devised a plan to keep children fleeing violence and persecution locked up in prisons, where they face long-lasting physical and mental health consequences. This is just the latest in this administration’s years-long campaign to demonize and dehumanize refugees seeking protection.
Human Rights First notes that detention of children—even for short periods of time—leads to long-lasting negative mental and physical health outcomes. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that even a few days in immigration detention facilities is harmful to the health of children. Human Rights First documented in a series of reports the inadequate medical care of children in detention.
Detention is also wholly unnecessary to ensure that refugee families attend their court hearings. On the contrary, families and children with legal counsel overwhelmingly appear in immigration court, with 97 percent of represented mothers whose cases were initiated in fiscal year 2014 complying with immigration court hearing obligations as of May 2018. Similarly, 97 percent of unaccompanied children whose cases were initiated in 2014 and who were represented by legal counsel were in full compliance with their court appearance obligations as of June 2019.