Monday, May 23, 2022

Flores Settlement News

LEXIS NEXIS Legal Newsroom Immigration has the latest news on the Flores settlement, which governs the detention of migrant childen.  Peter Schey reports that:

"After two years of negotiations, we have reached a settlement with the U.S. border patrol that for the first time sets detailed standards for the safe detention of immigrant children. . . . 

The 61-page agreement was reached two years after we challenged the conditions of children's detention in border patrol facilities in Texas where tens of thousands of minors were held during the Trump administration. A court filing on Saturday May 21, 2022, seeks U.S. Judge Dolly M. Gee's preliminary approval of the settlement. The border patrol has agreed to a wide range of protocols requiring that detained minors are held in safe and sanitary conditions, not be separated from relatives, and have access to medical evaluations and prompt medical treatment when needed.
The settlement requires that the border patrol treat minors in custody with "dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors," and that it place each detained minor "in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the class member’s age and special needs." It also requires that except when operationally infeasible, minors apprehended with an adult family member “shall remain with that family member” during their time in border patrol custody. If a minor is temporarily separated from an accompanying relative they have the right to visitation with that relative while in border patrol custody. The Trump administration caused a public backlash when it separated thousands of children from their parents.
The agreement also requires that minors detained by the border patrol are granted access to showers, hygiene kits, age-appropriate meals, clothing, mattresses, and blankets. Border patrol facilities will be required to maintain a stock of clothing in a variety of sizes that can be distributed to detained minors. Parents detained with infants must be provided items such as swaddling blankets and diapers.
The agreement requires the appointment of an independent medical expert who will have access to border patrol facilities in the Rio Grande and El Paso sectors to monitor compliance with the terms of the new agreement. The agreement will remain in effect for two and half years during which time we will also have the right to enter border patrol facilities to interview detained minors and monitor compliance with the agreement. 
The settlement requires that border patrol agents be trained regarding the agreement’s terms and display a poster and show a video to minors describing their rights. It also requires that minors or their accompanying relatives be provided a list of local free legal services. 

. . . .

The parties’ joint motion for preliminary approval of the settlement is available at this link. A copy of the parties’ settlement is available at this link. Exhibit 1 to settlement (poster) available at this link. Exhibits 2-4 to settlement available at this link. The parties proposed Class notice is available at this link."


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