The Flores Agreement and the 9th Circuit: What You Need to Know
The Flores Agreement, also known as the Flores Settlement, is a court settlement that governs the treatment of minors who are apprehended by the U.S. government and held in immigration detention. The settlement, which was reached in 1997, was named after Jenny Lisette Flores, a 15-year-old girl from El Salvador who was detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the 1980s.
The Flores Agreement requires that minors be held in the least restrictive setting possible and that they be released to a parent, legal guardian, or sponsor as soon as possible. The settlement also requires that minors be provided with food, water, medical care, and access to education and recreation.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in San Francisco and has jurisdiction over nine western states, has played a key role in interpreting and enforcing the Flores Agreement. In 2016, the court ruled that the settlement applies not only to unaccompanied minors, but also to children who are apprehended with their parents.
The ruling came in response to a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of minors who were held in detention with their parents in Texas. The court found that the government had violated the Flores Agreement by holding children in detention for extended periods of time and failing to provide them with adequate food, water, and medical care.
In 2018, a federal judge in California ruled that the government`s policy of separating children from their parents at the border also violated the Flores Agreement. The judge ordered the government to reunite separated families and to stop separating families except in limited circumstances.
The Flores Agreement has been the subject of controversy and litigation for many years. Critics argue that the settlement encourages illegal immigration by making it easier for minors to enter the country. Others argue that the settlement is necessary to protect the rights of vulnerable children who are caught up in the immigration system.
Regardless of one`s view of the Flores Agreement, it is clear that the settlement has had a significant impact on the way that minors are treated in immigration detention. The 9th Circuit`s interpretation and enforcement of the settlement has been instrumental in shaping U.S. immigration policy over the past two decades.
In conclusion, the Flores Agreement and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have played a significant role in shaping U.S. immigration policy and protecting the rights of minors in immigration detention. While the settlement continues to be a subject of controversy, it remains an important legal safeguard for vulnerable children who are caught up in the immigration system.