Immigration Law

Flores Motion Challenges 'Prison-Like' Detention Camp for Unaccompanied Minors in Florida

CHRCL, May 31, 2019 - "Today we filed a motion to enforce the Flores settlement challenging the lengthy detention of children at the prison-like detention camp for unaccompanied minors located at Homestead, Florida. The motion details the long-term physical and psychological harm these detention conditions cause. Homestead should be immediately shut down and the thousands of children detained there placed in licensed group homes close to their families and sponsors. This would cut the cost of detention by half, and be far less harmful to the safety and well-being of detained minors. We are asking the Court to order that unaccompanied minors may not be detained at Homestead for more than twenty days and must by then either be released to a family member or transferred to a facility licensed for the care of dependent children.

See Plaintiffs' Motion here.
See Plaintiffs' First Volume of Exhibits here.
 
On January 28, 1997, the federal Court in Los Angeles approved a class-wide settlement of this case setting national standards for the detention, treatment, and prompt release of accompanied and unaccompanied minors detained by federal immigration authorities. Flores Settlement Agreement [Doc. #101] ("Settlement").
 
The Settlement requires that Defendants make and record prompt and continuous efforts aimed at the release of class members to sponsors identified in the Settlement. Settlement ¶ 14. If prompt release is not possible, Defendants are required to expeditiously place class members in non-secure facilities licensed for the care of dependent children. Settlement ¶ 19.
 
The evidence filed with this motion shows that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement ("ORR"), which detains all unaccompanied minors commencing seventy-two hours after apprehension, has adopted policies and practices in violation of the Settlement by detaining thousands of unaccompanied minors in an unlicensed and secure military-style camp in Homestead, while routinely failing to expeditiously transfer minors to licensed facilities if not promptly released to sponsors.
 
Plaintiffs seek an Order requiring that Defendants release class members or transfer them to a licensed facility within twenty (20) days of placement in Homestead."