Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today reiterated the need for a legislative solution to protect the Flores Agreement, a court settlement that prevents prolonged detention of children and requires basic humane conditions during detention.
Senator Feinstein’s bill, the Protecting Immigrant Families and Improving Immigration Procedures Act, would prevent the administration from eliminating the Flores Agreement.
Senator Feinstein released the following statement:
“The administration’s decision to eliminate the Flores Agreement will have terrible consequences for immigrant children. That’s why the bill I introduced in June to protect the agreement deserves a hearing and a vote as soon as possible.
“I’m appalled at the insensitivity of this rule change. On any given day the administration holds approximately 10,000 children, many of whom are fleeing violence and poverty for a better life. The health and future of these children will be put at risk if they’re allowed to be detained for indefinite periods and in dangerous conditions.
“President Trump himself said he hopes the change will deter children and families from trying to enter the United States. What the president fails to understand is that these families are desperate. They’ll do anything to flee from the dreadful condition of their home countries. The threat of indefinite detention won’t deter them, it will only imperil the children who are being indefinitely detained.
“We need only look at the photo of the young father and his daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. Only extreme desperation caused them to try to cross that river. We need to meet these people with compassion and tolerance, not with indefinite detention. And we need to do more to address the conditions that led them to flee their countries in the first place.
“That’s the only way we’ll have a lasting effect, not by endangering children’s lives. I call on Chairman Graham to bring up my bill before the committee as soon as possible for debate and a vote.”