On Aug. 21, officials announced new rules that would allow federal officials to detain minors past the 20-day detention limit and could perhaps open the door to long-term detention of migrant children and families.
The rule, which is certain to draw a legal challenge, would replace a 1997 court settlement that limits the amount of time US immigration authorities can detain migrant children.
"From 20 to about 50 to 60 days, in general, is what we're talking about", he said.
The massive influx of Central American families to the U.S. -Mexico border has vastly strained the system, though agreements by Mexico to clamp down on migrants heading north and a new agreement with Guatemala forcing migrants to claim asylum there instead of heading north are expected to reduce the flow, though the action has been decried as inhumane.
On July 15 the administration unveiled a rule to bar nearly all immigrants from applying for asylum at the southern border, and on Aug 12 it announced regulation allowing visas and permanent residency only for those who make enough money. After that period, immigrant children and adults are released and a court date is set.
"This is a game-changer", Morgan told Fox News.
It also said that smugglers had "even fraudulently presented aliens arriving at the border as fake families to take advantage of the Flores loophole". The implementation deadline could slip, however, depending on the success of the court challenges.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a statement, "The indefinite and prolonged detention of children would compound the cruelty and accelerate the heart-breaking humanitarian situation at the border, worsening conditions for children already forced to sleep on concrete floors, eat inedible food and be denied basic sanitation and standards of care". Officials said the families would receive mental health treatment and other services.
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"Because of the current Flores settlement agreement, everybody knows. you grab a kid, that's your USA passport into the United States because we can't hold you more than 20 days". The agreement now restricts the amount of time children can be detained for at 20 days.
Part of the issue was that children could not be kept in facilities that weren't licensed, and no states license family detention centres.
Administration officials who briefed reporters late Tuesday on condition of anonymity said that numerous families would be held until they were either released after being granted asylum or they were deported to their home countries.
The government operates three family detention centers that can hold a total of about 3,000 people. Further, the statistics show that the families can stay up to eight years before going to court by using other loopholes in the system as an alternative to detention. (President Obama was not blameless on these issues, but acknowledged the problem rather than exacerbating it.) Seven children have died in border control custody under President Trump's watch.
Litigation over enforcement of the Flores settlement has exploded during the Trump administration, which has detained migrant children in poor conditions along the U.S. -Mexico border since soon after taking office.
"With the Flores fix today, something Congress should have done a long time ago, we're looking forward to seeing less and less family units coming across the border", Cuccinelli said. They say there is no longer a need for the court involvement, which was only meant to be temporary. "We must be a welcoming nation to the most vulnerable among us!"
The number of family members seeking asylum has surged this year.