A legal loophole that coyotes and human traffickers were using to take advantage of would-be illegal immigrants is closing this week after a new regulation from the Department of Homeland Security.
The new initiative is a Flores regulation designed to replace an existing rule instituted in 2015. The original Flores rule called for the release of migrants with children after a period of 20 days, whether the immigrant was eligible for asylum or not.
The new Flores regulation replaces the existing one; it allows for the detention of migrants and children past the 20 day point, so that applications and claims for asylum can be properly processed. The new ruling is designed to prevent the growing problem of child injuries and deaths by parents who cross the border illegally.
Instead of being released after 20 days, migrants with children will be detained in safe state-run shelters until asylum claims are processed. This will accomplish two goals; it will make illegal entry into the US less appealing to migrant families, reducing the number of children exposed to cartel-based human smugglers and coyotes. It will also prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining a job right away; many migrants who journey to Mexico from Central America do so to earn money to send home. Shelter detention while asylum claims are processed will remove this financial incentive to immigrate.
Despite the likely reduction in child deaths at the border, progressives and migration advocates are opposed to the new Flores rule. Groups opposing the change are expected to file legal papers to block the implementation of the regulation before it begins.
Opponents want to retain the original Flores rules, which allowed almost 500,000 illegal immigrants to enter the country in the last year. Once across the border, these family units simply waited 20 days for release, then disappeared into America, looking for jobs, entry into public schools and community services. Families exploited the loophole created by the massive amount of asylum requests; in most cases, the time a family was detained would run out before an asylum claim was processed. The family would then be released, regardless of their actual ability to qualify for asylum. Once released, they would disappear into the country, and simply refuse to show up to further hearings or adhere to rulings about their status.
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.
More lax asylum rules are largely supported by progressives and Democrats. Recent research suggests that 80 percent of Democrats want to make migration easier for illegal immigrants.
The latest changes to the Flores rule will close this loophole and create less of an incentive to bring children and infants on the dangerous journey across the border. This would in turn reduce the exposure families have to the dangerous coyotes that traffic in humans at the border.