The Trump administration is seeking to override a rule that prevents immigrant children from being detained for more than 20 days, NBC News reported Thursday.
The Department of Homeland Security said it had created a new rule that will allow immigrant children to be detained with their parents indefinitely, and that the rule will go into effect in 60 days. The new rule will circumvent the 1997 Flores settlement, which determined that immigrant children seeking asylum in the U.S. could not be held for more than 20 days at a time, often leading to children being released with their parents at that time.
Officials tried to avoid those releases earlier this year by separating migrant children from their parents upon arrival in the U.S., but the administration ended that practice after significant backlash, though several hundred children remain separated. Now, a DHS official told NBC News that the new rule is a legal workaround because children will be held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities that are evaluated by third parties.
In an announcement, administration officials said the evaluations will ensure that the facilities "satisfy the basic purpose" of the Flores settlement and keep children safe, while still closing "legal loopholes" that "significantly hinder" the government's ability to "promptly remove family units that have no legal basis to remain in the country."