Enforce the Flores Settlement Agreement
The National Center for Youth Law serves as co-counsel on Flores v. Garland, which resulted in the landmark 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement establishing national minimum standards for the treatment, placement, and release of detained immigrant children. The case remains under the supervision of U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee in the Central District of California.
As Flores counsel, we represent all children in federal immigration custody.
The National Center for Youth Law and co-counsel filed Flores v. Reno in 1985 to address the mistreatment of immigrant children in federal custody. The case settled in 1997 and remains under the supervision of U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee in the Central District of California.
The Flores Settlement Agreement established national minimum standards for the treatment, placement, and release of detained immigrant children. As Flores counsel, the National Center for Youth Law is one of very few organizations authorized to visit federal detention centers to monitor conditions and interview detained immigrant children. Along with co-counsel, the National Center for Youth Law monitors the government’s compliance with the Settlement’s terms and files motions to enforce the Settlement when necessary. Since 1997, the National Center for Youth Law and co-counsel have filed multiple motions to enforce the Settlement against the government’s violations of its terms.
Children are entitled to environments that will help them thrive
The Flores Settlement was created to bring child welfare protections to children in immigration custody. With limited exceptions, the Flores Settlement requires the government to place unaccompanied children in non-secure facilities that are state-licensed to care for dependent children. Licensed facilities must “comply with all applicable state child welfare laws and regulations” and be “licensed by an appropriate State agency to provide residential, group, or foster care services for dependent children . . ..” Judge Gee has emphasized the importance of this Settlement requirement, stating that the “purpose of the licensing provision is to provide class members the essential protection of regular and comprehensive oversight by an independent child welfare agency.”
Detention is no place for a child
One of the key pillars of the Flores Settlement Agreement is the requirement that children must be released from detention to a sponsor “without unnecessary delay.” The National Center for Youth Law works to ensure that the government upholds its responsibility to release children to sponsors as soon as possible. A sponsor may be a parent, relative, designate of the parent, or other responsible adult, as deemed appropriate.
Read our statement on children in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) here.
Flores stands through multiple administrations
The National Center for Youth Law has witnessed decades of harm to children in federal immigration custody, from no soap and showers to hiding children in motels before expelling them without due process to holding children for days on end in overcrowded tent facilities and more. Time and time again, through multiple administrations, Flores has stood for the basic care of health and safety of children.
As Flores counsel, we are entitled access to visit and speak to children in federal immigration custody. Their firsthand accounts help us understand if the government is in compliance with the Flores Settlement Agreement requirements. Since 1997, the National Center for Youth Law and co-counsel have filed multiple motions to enforce the Settlement in response to the government’s egregious violations of its terms.