WASHINGTON – The United States government officially published on Friday a proposal aimed at amending the Flores agreement to allow detention of immigrant children for more than 20 days, the maximum limit set by the judicial agreement.
The proposal was published in the Federal Register, the government’s official journal that contains laws, provisions, policy proposals and public notices.
Its publication in the Register opens the period of 60 days (ending Nov. 6) for the public to comment, a period during which the government can incorporate changes and finalize its proposal for implementation.
The Trump administration seeks to end the judicial agreement Flores dating back to 1997 and which determined that immigrant children should be detained under the less restrictive conditions possible and for a maximum period of 20 days.
The government has already asked a California federal court in June to temporarily suspend the Flores agreement – with legal protection – to be able to hold children with their parents in the family detention centers managed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Trump’s different initiatives to modify the agreement come after strong criticism of his zero tolerance border policy which has resulted in the separation of families.
Although it ended the divisions, the administration has continued to run a harsh immigration policy, according to humanitarian organizations and legislators of the US Congress.
On Friday, 64 Congress members requested in letters that the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, support the Flores agreement and not allow prolonged detention of minors.