***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
August 21, 2019
World Relief Opposes the Administration’s Decision to Depart from Flores Settlement
New rule will hold children in detention facilities indefinitely rather than the current 20-day standard
BALTIMORE, Md. – Today, the Administration announced it will move to formally replace the Flores Settlement Agreement that has shaped how U.S. officials treat migrant children and their families since 1997. This new rule will permit officials to indefinitely hold children and their parents in custody for months or years while they await their asylum hearings. World Relief strongly opposes this action, based on the trauma it will unnecessarily cause children and parents and the strain it will place on the U.S.’s already-full detention facilities. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services will issue this new rule on Friday.
“The situation at the U.S.-Mexico border has developed into a full-blown crisis for families over the past year, but it’s a crisis compounded due to a lack of humane treatment and due process,” said Scott Arbeiter, World Relief President. “While officials argue this new rule will keep women and children together, it will inevitably keep young children and their parents in the horrifying conditions of these detention facilities as they await their asylum hearings for months and even years.”
World Relief asks Congress to stand up for immigrant children by making sure they are not detained nor separated from their parents. Children who are held in government custody should be in safe, sanitary conditions, licensed by the state, and should be released to the least restrictive environment, with their families whenever feasible, as quickly as possible. World Reliefs also calls the government to respect the U.S.’s asylum laws so that no individual fleeing persecution will have to return to danger or be forced to wait for months without legal counsel in unsafe conditions in Mexico.
“This is a crucial moment for Christians to stand up for the vulnerable,” said World Relief CEO Tim Breene. “World Relief upholds a biblical view that preserving the family unit is paramount and people of all ages should be treated with dignity and respect. Children belong with their parents and not in jail-like detention facilities. We are grieved for the trauma this new rule will undoubtedly cause the individuals at our border, who are made in the image of God just like the rest of us. We urge the Church to compassionately respond by contacting their members of Congress and praying for the families at our border.”
World Relief and its partners have worked for some time to offer legal aid and other forms of support to migrants and asylum seekers along the border and various locations within the United States, and has witnessed the efficacy of nonprofit and faith-based solutions. It’s time to engage these networks in partnership with government agencies to meet the increasing need at the border.
World Relief urges Americans to pray for the families who will be affected by this rule and to contact their members of Congress, as they will be much more likely to act if they believe their constituents prioritize finding a solution for the vulnerable immigrant children and families at the border.
Those who wish to learn more about how they can help support World Relief’s work with protecting families can visit https://worldrelief.org/families.
About World Relief:
World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that seeks to overcome violence, poverty and injustice. Through love in action, we bring hope, healing and restoration to millions of the world’s most vulnerable women, men and children through vital and sustainable programs in disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding, as well as refugee and immigration services in the U.S. For 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and communities, currently across more than 20 countries, to provide relief from suffering and help people rebuild their lives.
Learn more at worldrelief.org.