Our mission is to represent all detained minors in the Flores federal court
case, to ensure that their conditions of detention are safe and secure and
meet the requirements of the several Flores settlements which set the
standards for the conditions of detention and release of minors, and to
monitor compliance with the Flores settlements by visiting and inspecting
detention facilities national-wide, including Border Patrol facilities.
In 1997, after ten years of litigation, CHRCL reached a historic nationwide
settlement with the Government addressing the conditions of detention
of immigrant minors and their right to release from custody. In summary,
the Flores Settlement requires the Government to detain minors in facilities
licensed for the care of dependent minors. It requires that detained minors have access to a range of services including health care, education, and family reunification services. It appoints CHRCL Executive Director Peter Schey and General Counsel Carlos Holguin as class counsel for all detained minors nationwide.
We are establishing immediate telephonic communication between children and parents, restoring parents’ decision-making over their children, and covering out-of-pocket expenses for volunteer social workers, mental health specialists and lawyers, and providing services rendered to help parents who are already deported apply to return to the U.S. to be safely reunited with their children.
We work with community-based organizations and advocacy groups that
have advocated on behalf of detained immigrant children for many
years. We routinely exchange information, provide technical support and
trainings, and coordinate conference calls about developments regarding
detained children's rights. Your organization's legal, medical members, or staff may participate in Flores detention site inspections and interviews with detained children for the purpose of gathering declarations and reports for submission to the United States judge overseeing nationwide compliance with the terms of the Flores settlement.
The Flores Settlement
On July 11, 1985, the Center filed Flores v. Meese, a class action lawsuit against the US Attorney General on behalf of several minors, including 15 year old Jenny Lisette Flores, alleging that the government's detention policies were in violation of the Due Process Clause and Equal Protections Clause of the United States Constitution.
Jenny Flores was arrested in San Ysidro, California while fleeing the Salvadoran Civil war where civilians were being targeted and terrorized. She was moved to Pasadena where she was repeatedly strip-searched and held for two months among unknown adults.
This litigation process led to the 1993 Supreme Court ruling Reno v. Flores (507 US 292) and then the subsequent Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement on January 28, 1997 after a four-year battle over sub-par detention standards.
The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement applies child welfare protections to vulnerable immigrant children. The Settlement sets national standards for the detention and humane treatment, and prompt release of all minors detained in the custody of the federal government, and is critical to the ongoing protection of these children.
Here are just a few of the stipulations made in the agreement: