A federal judge has blocked a rule promulgated by the Trump administration, one of a series of restrictive immigration initiatives that have encountered legal challenges. The rule would have allowed families coming to New York or to other parts of the United States to be detained indefinitely while their cases were processed. The ruling said that the policy did not comply with a settlement that has been on the books for decades, regulating the way that foreign national children are treated while in the custody of immigration officials.
The settlement, known as the Flores Agreement, was reached in 1997 but developed from a 1985 lawsuit by a Salvadoran teen challenging her detention. It set out rules for the treatment of detained children; in most cases, kids must be released from immigration custody promptly. Many kids who cross the border have family members and relatives living in the U.S. However, the Trump administration wanted to replace the framework in the settlement with its own policy allowing families to be detained but stating that humane conditions must be provided. The judge said that the policy actually differed in its goals from those of the agreement and noted that the settlement remains in effect.
The administration has repeatedly criticized the settlement in question, calling its standards “loopholes”. It claims that the settlement’s provisions make it more attractive for people from Central America to seek to immigrate to the United States because they will be released on immigration parole. In court, however, administration officials argued that their rule was compliant with the terms of the settlement, an argument rejected by the judge.
Family immigration can be a particularly important concern for people living in the United States who want to bring their foreign national relatives to live with them. An immigration law attorney may help clients navigate the process and protect their rights.