'This Will Cause Irreparable Harm': Horror as Trump DHS Announces Rule to Allow Indefinite Detention of Migrant Families

Rights groups reacted with horror and outrage on Wednesday after the Trump adminstration unveiled a rule that would allow the federal government to detain migrant families for an unlimited period of time.

“This is yet another cruel attack on children, who the Trump administration has targeted again and again with its anti-immigrant policies,” Madhuri Grewal, policy counsel with the ACLU, said in a statement. “The government should not be jailing kids, and certainly shouldn’t be seeking to put more kids in jail for longer.”

“The government should not be jailing kids, and certainly shouldn’t be seeking to put more kids in jail for longer.”
—Madhuri Grewal, ACLU

The new rule, announced Wednesday morning by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, would terminate a 1997 court ruling known as the Flores settlement agreement. Flores bars the federal government from detaining immigrant children for more than 20 days.

Trump administration officials told NBC News that there would be “no limit on how long a family can be detained” under the new regulation, which is expected to be published in the Federal Register by the end of the week.

Denise Bell, researcher for refugee and migrant rights with Amnesty International USA, condemned the proposed rule as “extraordinarily cruel.”

“It is beyond logic and humanity to attempt to keep children locked up for as long as possible, especially when we know that this subjects them to trauma and extreme distress,” Bell said in a statement. “Children who have already endured violence and persecution would be harmed even further by this policy.”

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