DHS Issues Regulation Closing the Flores Catch-and-Release Loophole

Immigrant Women and Children
Getty Images/Spencer Platt

The Department of Homeland Security is issuing a Flores regulation which will allow border agencies to detain migrants and children for multiple weeks until their legal claims for asylum can be completed.

The regulation replaces the 2015 court-ordered Flores rule which said migrants with children must be released after 20 days, even if officials suspect the migrants are ineligible for asylum.

Pro-migration advocates strongly oppose the regulation, even though it is also likely to reduce the death of children who are brought up to the border by their job-seeking parents. The opponents are expected to ask judges to block the regulation before it can go into effect.

On Wednesday morning, the regulation will be detailed by DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan and by Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services.

The regulation says migrants with children will be detained in state-licensed shelters until their various claims for asylum are either approved or denied, according to the regulation.

Officials expect the promise of family detention will sharply reduce the economic incentive for migration from Central America, Africa, and Asia, because it will prevent migrants from getting U.S. jobs to pay their smuggling debts to the cartel-affiliated coyotes. Without the revenue from a job in the United States, migrants know they will likely lose the farms and houses which they typically mortgage to pay the smuggling coyotes upfront.

The regulation replaces the so-called Flores court decision, made in 2015 by Democrat-nominated Californian Judge Dolly Gee. Her decision has enabled more than 433,000 poor “family unit” migrants to walk through the border wall since 2018, and then into blue-collar Americans’ jobs, rental markets, and K-12 schools.

Wealthy progressives welcome this huge inflow, partly because it provides them with a new wave of cheap, compliant, and grateful workers to service their restaurants, clean their houses and trim their lawns – without intruding into their suburbs or their childrens’ schools.

The Flores decision broke the border because it forces officials to release migrants who bring children migrants just 20 days after they are caught at the border. But migrants can delay their deportations for more than 20 days by asking for asylum. This two-sided loophole leaves officials with no choice but to release the asylum-claiming migrants who are supposed to eventually face asylum hearing in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or whatever city the migrants say they will live.

But the released grants avoid court hearing they expect to lose and instead hide in the vast population of illegal immigrants.

Once a judge orders their deportation, then progressives, the establishment media, and business groups protest whenever ICE officials try to deport the migrants who have lost their asylum hearings.

Migrants and their cartel-affiliated coyotes have rationally exploited Gee’s catch-and-release loophole — and so the “family unit” migration has spiked from just 15,000 people in 2013 to at least 433,000 in 2019.  A Guatemalan coyote named Hugo recently told the Los Angeles Times children are now a core part of the migration business:

“The child is the treasure,” Hugo said. “It’s not the adult who takes the child, it’s the other way around: The child takes the adult.”

Judge Gee’s loophole has also ensured the child-swapping and death of multiple children, including children who died from exposure or drowning while their parents were trying to evade U.S. border controls. In June 2019, for example, Reuters reported:

A six-year-old girl from India died of heat stroke in an Arizona desert after her mother left her with other migrants to go in search of water, a medical examiner and U.S. Border Patrol said on Friday.

The girl, Gurupreet Kaur, soon to celebrate her seventh birthday, was found by U.S. Border Patrol west of Lukeville, Arizona on Wednesday, when temperatures reached a high of 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius), U.S. Border Patrol and the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner (PCOME) said.

Congress has repeatedly refused to close Judge Gee’s huge loophole. GOP legislators argue that the businesses “need” more workers and consumers, while Democrats prefer to describe the migrants as victims of violence and poverty who deserve aid and welcome from Americans.

Administration officials have prepared a volley of press events to fend off opposition from pro-migration groups.

“Today the Administration is closing one of the legal loopholes that has allowed human traffickers and smugglers to exploit our vulnerabilities at the southern border,” said a statement attributed to a “senior administration official. “President [Donald] Trump has made it clear that he’s going to secure America’s border at all cost and this rule plays a vital role in the strategy to restore the integrity to our immigration system and our national security.”





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