Under a new proposed rule, the administration would be allowed to keep kids in detention for months or even years.
Just two months after the Trump administration stopped separating immigrant children from their parents at the southern border, the government Thursday announced its next plan for families who enter the US seeking asylum: long-term family detention, which is currently illegal.
Under current law, immigrant children cannot be detained for longer than 20 days. But the government has proposed a new rule that would allow it to hold kids with their parents in lockdown facilities throughout the duration of their immigration proceedings—which typically take months, and can even span years.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said such prolonged family detention was necessary to deter illegal immigration, and to allow “the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress.”
“Today, legal loopholes significantly hinder the Department’s ability to appropriately detain and promptly remove family units that have no legal basis to remain in the country,” she said in an emailed statement.