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Early last month, the Trump administration announced it was seeking new regulations that would effectively terminate the 1997 Flores Agreement, which sets a 20-day limit for all asylum-seeking and migrant children held in detention. This opened a public comment period for two months. That period ends tomorrow, November 6.

In response, Amnesty International USA collected more than 20,000 comments from members and supporters urging the Trump administration to withdraw proposed regulations terminating Flores. The organization also submitted the following comment:

“On behalf of our members across the country and across the world, including the tens of thousands of Amnesty International members who have submitted their own unique comments, we urge DHS and HHS to withdraw the proposed regulations, and instead advance policies that conform with the FSA and human rights and refugee rights law.  DHS should end, rather than expand, the detention of children with their parents…”

“Should these regulations go into effect, they would institutionalize prolonged detention as the norm, completely contravening the FSA and resulting in children being denied their human rights.  As a first matter, children should not be held in family immigration detention. Detention is never in the best interests of a child.  It should only ever be used as a last resort and for the shortest period of time where necessary to protect the best interests of a child, only following an individualized assessment and judicial review…”

“Despite these strong calls to end the practice of detaining children, because they contravene the best interests of the child, obligations under human rights and refugee rights treaties and principles, and are harmful to children’s psychological and physical well-being, the U.S has continued to grow this practice within its own borders.

The proposed regulations would further entrench this harmful practice that undermines U.S. obligations. Amnesty International USA calls for this practice to end, and these regulations to be rejected.”

You can find the full comment online here.