(Arlington, VA) – The administration is proposing changes to the regulations that govern detention of children apprehended at the border, including withdrawal from a consent decree that limited detention of children who arrive as part of a family to 20 days. Under the new policy, children could be detained indefinitely. The new regulation would also reportedly create a federal license system for family detention centers. According to Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen, the changes would address “one of the primary pull factors” for undocumented immigration.
Kevin Hernandez, Policy Director for The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“Choosing between family separations and indefinite detentions is a false choice. Quite simply, the federal government’s law enforcement resources should not be in the business of caring for and handling thousands of children, as this year’s experience with the “zero tolerance” policy should clearly show. This Administration’s particular focus on curtailing immigration and eliminating ‘pull factors’ does nothing to improve our system or safety, nor does it address the most substantial “pull factor” — an outdated and unadaptable immigration system that was designed in and for the 20th century.
Instead of more regulatory changes and unilateral executive actions, what is needed is leadership to improve our system and increase the contribution and benefit America gains from immigration. Our immigration laws have not been updated or modernized in more than 30 years. We need an open debate that considers the best ideas from all sides – to better understand the real threats, and the most effective ways to address them.”