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Underwood opposes Trump Administration's proposal regarding detained immigrant children

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood – part of a coalition of 18 attorneys general – today submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) expressing significant concerns with their proposed regulations that would roll back protections for children held in immigrant detention facilities. Those protections are the result of a settlement in prior litigation, the Flores Settlement Agreement, which has afforded all immigrant children a right to be released from detention, set standards for their conditions of confinement, and provided meaningful oversight and monitoring of their care while in custody. The Administration is seeking to replace the protections in the settlement agreement with the new, less protective regulations.

"To take away protections from these children is to ignore their basic health, safety, and wellbeing," said Attorney General Underwood. "These children have already suffered irreparable harm from detention and separation from their families. We won't stand by as the Trump administration continues to undermine children's most fundamental rights."

In the comment letter, the Attorneys General:
  • Describe how the proposed rule contradicts important protections guaranteed by the Flores Settlement Agreement, including the presumption that all children are eligible for release into the community;
  • Address constitutional concerns with the indefinite detention of children;
  • Call attention to the evidence showing that detention is not a deterrent to immigration;
  • Highlight how the proposed rule undermines state licensing of children's residential placements, which is a fundamental police power traditionally belonging to the States; and
  • Discuss the ample evidence of lasting harm to children from detention.
Attorney General Underwood is joined by the Attorneys General of California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

In June 2018, Attorney General Underwood filed a multistate lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's unconstitutional family separation policy.