Today, Rep. Crenshaw announced the introduction of the Flores Settlement Update and Establishment Act of 2022. The bill is designed to remove incentives by modifying and codifying parts of the Flores settlement, specifically the amount of time a minor can be held.
The reapplication of the 1997 Flores Settlement to covering family units, though it was originally meant to deal with just minor children, has been used to bypass our immigration system and give family units a free pass into the interior of our country. This application of Flores has created an incentive for migrants to bring children with them when they cross, and migrants have responded – sending kids alone in the care of migrants, dragging kids along on the treacherous journey from the Northern Triangle to the U.S. border, or using kids provided by cartels to gain entry and release into the U.S.
“Children are being taken advantage of to use our own laws against us. It’s inhumane and it’s a root cause of the unprecedented illegal immigration crisis at our southern border. This bill ensures that children brought across our border have an established, verifiable relationship to those who accompany them. And it holds the cruel people accountable who lie about their relation to an innocent child to get a free pass into our country," Crenshaw said. “It will also address how long minors can be held in custody, which will remove the current incentive to bring a child across the border because you know you will be released in 72 hours.”
Brandon Judd, the President of the National Border Patrol Council, said “I want to thank Congressman Crenshaw yet again for his leadership on border security issues. We have a crisis on the border and last month we apprehended over 200,000 illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. The Flores settlement agreement creates a perverse incentive for illegal immigrants to bring children with them because they know that under Flores we cannot hold them for more than 72 hours. These children, some of who are being trafficked, are essentially get out of jail free cards for the illegal immigrants.”
This legislation would address this issue by requiring the DNA testing of family units to establish a genetic relation, require the referral of adults fraudulently claiming familial relations with children in family units to the Attorney General for prosecution, and establish requirements for custodianship of unaccompanied minors, which would disqualify those in the U.S. illegally, not related, and charged or convicted with certain criminal activity. It would also establish guidelines for certain minors to be treated as adults due to their affiliation with gangs or transnational criminal organizations.
Click here or on the image below to watch Representative Crenshaw discuss his bill on Varney & Co.
Click here to read the text of the bill.