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20 States Challenge Rule Allowing Prolonged Detention Of Immigrant Children


Attorney generals of 20 states have filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration's new rule to hold migrant children in detention indefinitely.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, both Democrats, are leading a coalition of attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia in filing a lawsuit opposing the Trump Administration's new rule circumventing the Flores Settlement Agreement, which has long been governing the treatment of children in immigration custody.

The Department of Homeland Security had promulgated the new rule called the Flores agreement last week.

While the old rule set a 20-day limit for holding children, the new rule would lift the 20-day cap and would expand family detention.

In the complaint filed before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the coalition argues that the new rule eliminates several critical protections guaranteed by the Flores Settlement Agreement. In particular, the prolonged detention would cause harm to children, their families, and the California communities that accept them upon their release from federal custody.

The complainants fear that the rule would result in the vast expansion of family detention centers, which are not state-licensed facilities, and with a history of causing trauma in children.

"This new Trump rule callously puts at risk the safety and well-being of children. It undermines a decades-old agreement reached in court by the federal government to prevent the unlawful detention of immigrant children," said Attorney General Becerra.

California Governor Gavin Newsom accused President Donald Trump of disregarding basic human rights and using helpless immigrant children as political pawns to further his ideological agenda.

Attorneys General of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia also are signatories to the lawsuit.

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