The Flores Agreement is a legal settlement that sets standards for the detention, housing, and treatment of minors who enter the United States illegally and are detained by the Department of Homeland Security. The agreement has been in place since 1997 and was named after a 15-year-old girl named Jenny Flores who was detained by the US government after crossing the border from Mexico in 1985.
The Flores Agreement requires that minors be released from detention without unnecessary delay, preferably to their parents or other family members. If a suitable family member is not available, the government must provide the minor with placement in a non-secure, licensed facility. The agreement also sets standards for the conditions of detention, including access to medical care, education, and recreation.
In addition to setting standards for detention conditions, the Flores Agreement also requires that minors be kept separate from unrelated adults in detention facilities. This provision is meant to protect minors from abuse and exploitation.
The Flores Agreement has been at the center of much controversy in recent years as the US government has attempted to change the terms of the agreement. In 2018, the Trump administration announced that it would be implementing a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings, which resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the border. The administration argued that the Flores Agreement prevented them from detaining families together, but a federal judge ruled that the administration was still required to comply with the agreement.
In 2019, the Trump administration announced that it would be ending the Flores Agreement and replacing it with a new rule that would allow the government to detain families together for longer periods of time. However, this new rule has been challenged in court and has not yet gone into effect.
The Flores Agreement remains an important legal settlement that sets standards for the treatment of minors who enter the United States illegally. While there is disagreement about the best way to enforce the agreement, most people agree that minors should be treated with dignity and respect, and that their rights should be protected while they are in the custody of the US government.