A coalition of attorneys general from several states of the country said Wednesday that minors held by immigration authorities in detention centers lack basic human rights.
The attorneys, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, signed a legal support document (an “amicus brief”) towards the lawsuit against the government of President Donald Trump to comply with the Flores Agreement.
Under this judicial agreement, which dates back to 1997 and is the product of litigation undertaken by two humanitarian organizations, the authorities can not detain immigrant minors for more than 20 days, and must also be detained in the “least restrictive” conditions possible.
“All children deserve to be treated with care and compassion, dignity and respect,” Becerra said in a statement.
“However, with every day that passes, the Trump Administration is stealing children, babies and even pregnant mothers from accesing basic human rights,” added the prosecutor.
The prosecutor’s statements arrive amid the allegations of sexual assaults by Border Patrol agents (CBP) on migrant minors detained in Arizona, according to a report by NBC television.
The newspaper report cites the testimony of a 15-year-old Honduran, who allegedly had a “big, bearded officer” touch her private parts during a search, in an event that would have occurred in front of other immigrants and officers.
In February of this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reached a monetary settlement following the demand of a Guatemalan immigrant who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Border Patrol agent (CBP) in 2016.
The federal government agreed to pay $ 125,000 for the girl to abandon the case.
It was precisely ACLU and other organizations that filed the lawsuit that led to the agreement in 1985 on behalf of Jenny Lisette Flores, a 15-year-old teenager who fled El Salvador to reunite with her aunt in the United States. After several years of litigation an agreement was reached in 1997 with Bill Clinton’s Government (1993-2001).
In Wednesday’s statement, Becerra stressed that CBP is “flagrantly violating its obligations under the Flores Agreement,” and that federal authorities give agents a “dangerous and irresponsible task” by placing the children under their care.
The legal document is signed by prosecutors from California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
The legal support of these prosecutors was delivered to the Central District Court of California, which is evaluating the government’s actions.
“Together, (the coalition prosecutors) we are facing this administration that uses the highest office in our nation to harass the most vulnerable among us,” said Becerra.