Treatment of migrant children beyond callous



August 26, 2019 - 10:22 AM

Recent immigrants and their children are dropped off at the bus station from detention in McAllen, Texas, on June 27, 2019. (Carol Guzy/ Press/TNS)

President Donald Trump’s apparent view that Americans want a federal government that abandons humanitarian norms is once again on display this week with two more decisions about the treatment of detained unauthorized immigrants.

The first is the Trump administration’s attempt to nullify a 1997 court agreement, known as the Flores settlement, that put a 20-day limit on detaining minors in immigration detention centers and set standards for how such children are treated. The new rule would establish minimum standards for conditions at the detention centers while allowing families to be detained indefinitely. It would take effect in late October if it survives expected court challenges and wins the approval of a federal judge.

Given the poor conditions at some detention centers, it’s hard to accept at face value the claim that this new rule would make the Trump administration do more to improve conditions. Instead, the rule appears to be a continuation of Trump administration efforts to discourage unauthorized immigrants and refugee seekers by treating them poorly.

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