DHS/HHS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Flores Settlement Agreement

DHS/HHS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Flores Settlement Agreement

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DHS/HHS notice of proposed rulemaking to amend regulations related to the apprehension, processing, care, custody, and release of undocumented juveniles and would terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement. The rule would create an “alternative” to the existing licensed program requirement for family residential centers, including the ability to detain family units together during the entirety of their immigration proceedings.

AGENCY: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS); U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), DHS; U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), DHS; Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (‘‘the Departments’’) propose to amend regulations relating to the apprehension, processing, care, custody, and release of alien juveniles. In 1985, plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit, Flores v. Reno, challenged the policies of the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) relating to the detention, processing, and release of alien juveniles. The parties reached a settlement agreement, referred to as the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA). The FSA, as modified in 2001, provides that it will terminate forty-five days after publication of final regulations implementing the agreement. The rule would adopt in regulations provisions that parallel the relevant and substantive terms of the FSA, consistent with the HSA and TVPRA, with some modifications discussed further below to reflect intervening statutory and operational changes while still providing similar substantive protections and standards. It therefore would terminate the FSA. The rule would satisfy the basic purpose of the FSA in ensuring that all juveniles in the government’s custody are treated with dignity, respect, and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors, while doing so in a manner that is workable in light of subsequent changes. The rule would also implement closely related provisions of the HSA and TVPRA. Most prominently, the rule would create an alternative to the existing licensed program requirement for family residential centers, so that ICE may use appropriate facilities to detain family units together during their immigration proceedings, consistent with applicable law.

 

Source: AILA Doc. No. 18090600.