Attorney General Mark R. Herring yesterday joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general, to submit a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services expressing significant concerns with their proposed regulations that would roll back protections for children held in immigrant detention facilities. Those protections are the result of a settlement in prior litigation, the Flores Settlement Agreement, which has afforded all immigrant children a right to be released from detention, set standards for their conditions of confinement, and provided meaningful oversight and monitoring of their care while in custody. The Administration is seeking to replace the protections in the settlement agreement with the new, less protective regulations.

"The Trump Administration has shown they will continue to ignore the protections granted to immigrant children," said Attorney General Herring. "It is time these kids are removed from detention and are either reunited with family members or folks from the community who will provide a temporary home for them. The way the Trump Administration has treated these children is not who we are as a country and I will continue to work with my colleagues to insure that they are treated with respect."

In the comment letter, the states:

  • Describe how the proposed rule contradicts important protections guaranteed by the Flores Settlement Agreement, including the presumption that all children are eligible for release into the community;
  • Address constitutional concerns with the indefinite detention of children;
  • Call attention to the evidence showing that detention is not a deterrent to immigration;
  • Highlight how the proposed rule undermines state licensing of children’s residential placements, which is a fundamental police power traditionally belonging to the States; and
  • Discuss the ample evidence of lasting harm to children from detention.

Attorney General Herring is joined by the attorneys general of California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.