National Center for Youth Law

At the Center

Prominent congressional members, interfaith, and advocacy organizations file amicus briefs in support of the Flores Settlement

In response to the government’s attempt to undermine the Flores Settlement Agreement and the protections it provides to all children in federal immigration custody, prominent organizations and members of congress have filed amicus briefs in the Ninth Circuit in support of the Flores Settlement Agreement.

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

“The scheme put in place by the Regulations . . . is the functional equivalent of having no licensing requirement at all; it essentially entrusts the fox to guard the henhouse. Indeed, DHS has a demonstrated history of organizing seemingly ineffective inspections of its immigration detention facilities by third-party vendors.” (Page 10).

Read the brief here.

PEDIATRIC, CHILD, EDUCATION, PROFESSIONAL, and ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS

“Even brief periods of detention impact children’s functioning, and worsening mental health symptoms increase the longer a child is in detention. Prolonged detention has been shown to exacerbate trauma and its negative impacts, too: children in detention are ten (10) times more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than adults, and their symptoms become increasingly common the longer a child is in detention.” (Page 12-13).

Read the brief here.

INTERFAITH ORGANIZATIONS

“While different faiths and sects have different teachings about specific issues, certain fundamental principles are common across faiths and are shared by all amici. Among these principles is a duty to assist immigrants and refugees grounded in the religious command to help those who are in need and, especially, to welcome the stranger. Amici share a particular concern for the well-being of the children who would be most harmed by abandoning the Flores agreement.” (Page 2).

Read the brief here.

CHILDREN’S LEGAL ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS

“Given the well-documented shortcomings of oversight and compliance in DHS-run detention facilities, any assurances that federal licensing will both meet the requirements under the Agreement and actually be enforced is unpersuasive.” (Page 30)

Read the brief here.

IMMIGRANT CHILD ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS

“Other concerns raised by the public during the rulemaking process and by Amici addressing the District Court show additional grounds for enjoining the New Regulations and maintaining the Agreement in force. The discussion below highlights three of these: repeated redeterminations under the “unaccompanied alien child” definition, extensive exceptions to the requirements for transferring children to licensed programs, and elimination of third-party independent monitoring for compliance with required standards and protections.” (Pages 16-17).

Read the brief here.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH and AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

“[I]nternational human rights bodies have expressed that even short-term immigration detention of children may rise to the level of ‘cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” because child migrants and refugees are “at greater risk of torture and mistreatment owing to their vulnerability and unique needs.’” (Page 6)

Read the brief here.

STATES ATTORNEYS GENERAL

“[B]y exempting family detention centers from state licensing, the Rule undermines Amici States’ authority to enforce their laws . . . . The harm to Amici States here is particularly acute because child welfare laws are among the traditional powers reserved for the states. By taking away their power to enforce their own licensing regimes, the Rule directly and irreparably harms Amici States, not only as to their sovereign interest in enforcing their duly enacted laws and regulations, but also as to their interest in protecting the welfare of children.” (Pages 9-10)

Read the brief here.

CITIES and COUNTIES

“[T]he Final Rule will impact three primary interests of amici: (1) ensuring the health and wellbeing of immigrant children through state and local licensing of housing facilities; (2) providing essential resources to immigrant children to address the harms of detention; and (3) providing immigrant children with access to legal representation throughout their immigration proceedings.” (Page 2)

Read the brief here.

LEGAL SCHOLARS and NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

“The policy changes the Government asks this Court to approve would violate the United States’ obligations to safeguard the rights of children to be free from unlawful detention. Under international law, the United States must provide children with special measures of protection and ensure children’s best interests are always a primary consideration.” (Page 2)

Read the brief here.