Sep 6, 2018

U.S. weighs indefinitely detaining migrant families

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services have proposed a rule that would allow them to indefinitely keep children caught crossing the border illegally with their parents in family detention centers, circumventing the Flores Settlement, a legal ruling that prevents minors from being held in detention longer than 20 days.

Why it matters: The Flores Settlement has been a key obstacle to the Trump administration's efforts to crack down on immigrant families illegally crossing the border, which reached a flash point earlier this year with the administration's "zero tolerance" family separation policy.

  • The administration will likely face new legal challenges over the rule, especially given federal Judge Dolly Gee has already declined to change her Flores ruling at President Trump's request.
  • Under the settlement, families are kept in detention together up to the 20-day limit — after which immigration authorities must complete the asylum or removal process or release the family into the U.S. until their immigration court hearings.
"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. This rule addresses one of the primary pull factors for illegal immigration and allows the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress."
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

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America's unfinished business

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fury over George Floyd's killing is erupting as the U.S. faces a looming wave of business bankruptcies, likely home evictions and a virus pandemic that will all disproportionately hit African Americans.

Why it matters: What these seemingly disparate issues share in common is that they emanate from systemic abuses that calls to action and promised reforms have yet to meaningfully address.

Deaths without consequences

Community organizations and activists demand police accountability at a rally in Grand Central Terminal to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of Mike Brown's death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images

Seven years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officers to be charged in the deaths of African Americans — and even more rare for an officer to go to jail.

The big picture: The Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video kneeling on George Floyd's neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — which is already a step beyond the consequences other police officers have faced. But it's no guarantee that he will face jail time.