Via the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Source: Pixabay

On November 6, HIRC, along with the HLS Immigration Project (HIP) and the Immigration Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), submitted comments on the Trump administration’s proposal to end the Flores v. Reno settlement, which requires that the government release children from immigration detention without unnecessary delay to their parents or other adults. The Flores agreement has been in place since 1997.

In their comments, HIRC and GBLS staff and HIP students used client stories to highlight the flawed logic in the Trump administration’s proposal:

“Last year, we represented a 21-year-old Salvadoran woman who, when fleeing abuse in El Salvador at age 17, was held for three days at gunpoint by gang members of Los Zetas in Mexico. Like the young Salvadoran, many of our clients often do not have the luxury of making a choice about whether to leave their home countries. Life-threatening violence related to powerful gangs and abusive security forces is a major problem throughout much of the Northern Triangle. This violence has pushed growing numbers of people from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to seek asylum. Furthermore, Central American women, children, and families often have no option but to flee the ongoing threat of gang or gender-related violence experienced back at home. New regulations will not deter these individuals who are trying to save their lives and the lives of their children.”

They also emphasized the dire effects of the indefinite detention of children, citing studies that show long-term mental and physical harm suffered by detained children.

The complete comments from HIRC, HIP and GBLS are available here.

Special thanks to Krista Oehlke ’20 for her work on this letter!