Michigan, Minnesota Attorneys General Join Lawsuit to Stop Reform of Illegal Immigrant Family Units


Minnesota and Michigan’s Attorneys General are part of a group of 20 Democratic-led states suing the Trump Administration over its plan to lengthen its detention of illegal immigrant family units to ensure they are held until their cases have been handled.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison have joined the lawsuit being led by California and Massachusetts.

The Attorneys General plan to stop the Department of Homeland Security from effecting a rule change to the Flores Settlement Agreement, which has required U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to detain migrant family units for no longer than a 20-day period.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit is available here and questions the safety of Family Residential Centers for children.

In fact, the rule as promulgated violates a number of the Flores Agreement’s critical protections for immigrant children’s safety and well-being, intrudes into the core state function of licensing care facilities for children, and will cause irreparable harm to immigrant children, their parents, and the States which will welcome them upon their release from federal custody.

In February 2007, the Women’s Refugee Commission and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service published a report detailing “prison-like” conditions in family detention facilities in Pennsylvania and Texas, as well as developmental harm inflicted on children by being held in family detention.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office released this statement: “It shocks our collective conscience that the United States government would treat the children in our custody and care worse than war criminals are treated. That is precisely why Michigan – including both the Attorney General and the Governor – joined this multi-state lawsuit. We have a legal and moral obligation to do everything in our power to stop the soon-to-be-implemented Health and Human Services/Homeland Security administrative rule. This rule, which will replace the requirements of the Flores Agreement and impact how children are treated during immigration detention, conflicts with Michigan’s child welfare policy, licensing and enforcement.”

John Stiles, deputy chief of staff for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, said, “The attorney general believes this is wrong and this is not how children should be treated.”

Ellison also opposes the administrative rule change on expedited removal that expands an ICE agent’s authority to deport an undocumented immigrant, Stiles said. Before, an agent was limited to a 100-mile radius from the border on an immigrant who was here for less than 14 days, with “almost no rights” or the ability to contact family. The process could take 10 to 11 days on average.

The new rule allows agents to detain an immigrant from anywhere in the country, including Minnesota, Stiles said. It affects immigrants here from 14 days to two years. Ellison believes immigrants who are here legally but are not carrying their paperwork, including children, are at risk.

Homeland Security has fought against accusations on how immigrants are treated. They tweeted a video and said, “The South Texas ICE Family Residential Center is a campus setting for children & families equipped with appropriate medical, educational, recreational, dining & private housing facilities – consistent with established standards of care in custody.”

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Dana Nessel” by Dana Nessel. 




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