Immigration attorney: Trump's executive order could lead to indefinite family detention

"In many cases.. there were unsafe and unsanitary conditions."

Adam Carter
June 21, 2018 - 9:41 am

© Nick Oza-USA TODAY Sports

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Even with President Trump's about-face on family separation, a local immigration attorney says a new controversy surrounding children coming illegally into the US may be just beginning.  

Steven Thal is an immigration attorney based in Minnetonka.  He credits President Trump for signing an executive order to end the practice of removing children from their parents at the border.  But he says that order also directs the Department of Justice to modify a settlement agreement that could mean children would be forced to stay in detention facilities with their families indefinitely.

"My reading between the lines of the executive order is that the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, will seek to modify the Flores Settlement Agreement to allow longer detentions, although the families would be allowed to remain together."

The settlement agreement Thal is referring to, as it stands now, prevents children from being held in detention facilities for longer than 20 days.  Thal says many of those facilities have had major issues uncovered by prior court rulings.

"In many cases, in the facilities in which children were held or adults were also kept, there were unsafe and unsanitary conditions, inadequate food, inadequate access to clean drinking water, inadequate hygiene, cold temperatures and inadequate sleeping conditions.  Many of the same concernsthat have been brought out by the recent detentions."

Thal says it remains to be seen if that settlement agreement will be modified.  

Listen to the full interview here: