Warn that "countless children will be harmed"
An official of the US bishops’ conference harshly criticized a “final rule” published by the Trump administration, which would circumvent the Flores agreement’s restrictions on how long immigrant children can be detained.
Already under Obama, the government was trying to avoid the 1997 Flores rule, which maintains that children can only be held for 20 days. It also mandates basic care for children being held.
Bishop Joe Vásquez, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration, condemned the final rule published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“This rule will have heartbreaking consequences for immigrant children – those whom Pope Francis has deemed ‘the most vulnerable group’ among migrants,” said Vásquez. “It is an attempt by the Administration to circumvent existing obligations and undermine critical protections for these children. “This rule will jeopardize the well-being and humane treatment of immigrant children in federal custody and will result in children suffering long-lasting consequences of being held for prolonged periods in family detention. We oppose this rule that we believe is unlawful and inhumane. Countless children will be harmed by this new rule and this is simply not acceptable.”