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US Moves To Abolish The Limits Of Child Migrant Custody

United States of America have moved for the abolishment on the Limits Of Child Migrant Custody. Kevin McAleenan, Homeland Security Secretary defends the government’s new migrant detention rule. Under a new regulation announced by the Trump administration, migrant families who illegally cross the southern border of the US could be detained indefinitely. This new move replaces an agreement that set a limit on how long the government is allows to hold migrant children in custody. This is due to take effect in 60 days.

Mexico has expressed concern on this new development and said it would consider legal action. Mexican foreign minister said, “the detention of children and adolescents could prolong indefinitely, given the continuing delay in attending to migration cases“. However, other legal challenges are expected.

Why The Move To Abolish The Limits Of Child Migrant Custody?

Homeland security officials believe that time limits on the detentions of migrant families have driven the surge of Central Americans that are crossing the border in order to enter the US this year. It was also argued that the new regulation will counter the belief that bringing children into the US is “a passport” to being release from detention after a short period of time.

According to McAleenan in a statement said; “Today the government has issued a critical rule that will permit the Department of Homeland Security to appropriately hold families together and improve the integrity of the immigration system. This new rule gives power to the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress and to make sure that all children in US government custody are treated with respect, dignity as well as special concern for their particular vulnerability.”

However, the policy was condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) saying: “The government should not be jailing kids, and certainly shouldn’t be seeking to put more kids in jail for longer.”

It comes as the White House seeks to enact a “public charge” rule that would forbid legal migrants from accessing social services such as food aid. The Trump administration has also recently moved to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants.

What does the new regulation do?

The new regulation aims to replace a decades-old court agreement – known as the Flores settlement – that both limited the duration allowed for the government to hold migrant children in custody and specified the level of care the children must all receive. On this issue, a 2015 legal ruling specified that children should be held for no more than 20 days. Last month, a Guatemalan mother spoke about the death of her 21-month-old baby daughter in US detention centre.

With the new regulation, the government would send families who were caught crossing the border illegally to family residential centres for the duration of their immigration cases. The US President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained about the “catch and release” of migrant families under the old rules.

Last summer, as a means of circumventing the Flores settlement, the Trump administration separated children from their parents. The Department of Health and Human Services held the children in custody while the adults were imprisoned while awaiting trial for breaking immigration laws.

In June 2019, a Trump administration lawyer was admonished by federal judges in San Francisco after she argued that the Flores settlement did not require the government to provide detained children with soap or toothbrushes.