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ENFORCING THE LAW AND KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER: President Donald J. Trump is taking action to ensure alien families can be kept together through their immigration proceedings.

  • The Trump Administration is taking action to establish standards for family housing that will ensure alien families can be held together during immigration proceedings.
  • This new rule will ensure alien children are safe, secure, and well cared for while detained.
  • This action protects child welfare by closing an immigration loophole exploited by human smugglers.
  • The Government will now seek to terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement, a loophole that results in most alien families being released into the country after 20 days.
    • Court rulings have expanded the Flores agreement, which now effectively forces the Government to release most alien families into the country after 20 days.
    • Congress has failed to act to close this loophole and help fix the crisis at the border.
  • The decades-old Flores agreement is outdated and fails to account for the massive shift in illegal immigration to families and minors from Central America.
  • The Administration is fulfilling the purpose of the Flores agreement, which is to ensure children in the Government’s custody are treated with dignity, respect, and special concern.

COMBATING CHILD SMUGGLING: The Flores loophole has been exploited by human smugglers and others who use children as pawns to bring illegal aliens into the country.

  • The Flores loophole essentially gives a free pass into the interior of the United States to many aliens who arrive at the border with a minor.
  • Smugglers have used this loophole as a selling point for aliens who want to cross the border and be released into the interior of the country, exploiting migrant children for profit.
  • Smugglers have even fraudulently presented aliens arriving at the border as fake families to take advantage of the Flores loophole.
  • This Administration’s action makes clear that human smugglers will no longer be able to profit from the Flores loophole.

RESPONDING TO THE BORDER CRISIS: The Flores loophole has been a substantial driving force behind the crisis at our southern border.

  • The Flores loophole acts as a magnet, drawing more and more alien families to make the dangerous journey to our border.
  • The number of family unit aliens apprehended at the southern border has skyrocketed in recent years.
    • Family unit apprehensions have spiked from just 14,855 in fiscal year (FY) 2013 to 432,838 so far this FY – an increase of more than 2,800 percent.
  • More than 430,000 family unit aliens have been apprehended at the southern border so far in FY 2019 – a more than 300 percent jump from all of last FY.
    • There have been more family unit aliens apprehended at the southern border in the last three months – 184,000 – than all of last FY.