Statement: RAICES Intervenes for children in Flores Case

RAICES, along with our partners at ALDEA – The People’s Justice Center, and Proyecto Dilley filed a motion to intervene in the Flores case on behalf of three children detained at the Berks, Dilley, and Karnes detention centers. The motion asks Judge Gee to allow the children, and all children in family detention centers, to have their own lawyers represent them as co-counsel in Flores.

On June 26th U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered that all migrant children detained for more than 20 days at ICE’s Family Detention Centers be released no later than July 17, 2020. However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Flores Class Counsel asked for a 10 day extension of Judge Gee’s July 17th deadline to release children from ICE family detention centers. They are also working together to create a permanent process to ask parents whether they want to be separated from their children or remain detained indefinitely together by waiving their child’s right to expedient release from detention under Flores. The request for a 10 day extension puts children’s lives at risk because every day in detention means another chance to become infected with COVID-19, which is running rampant in the family prisons.

The families we represent do not want to be separated from each other. Family integrity is a human right. It is RAICES’ ethical obligation to advocate for our clients’ interests. Both permanent separation and indefinite detention are adverse to their interests. The very act of presenting families in prison together with this question is cruel. We are disappointed that Class Counsel does not share our understanding of the realities facing Flores Class Members detained with their parents. The idea that all children would be better off in the United States without their parents is an indignity to the journey these families have taken together, and supports a white supremacist notion that migrant children can be saved by the United States, even after detention and being ripped away from their parents.

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Family Separation 2.0