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White House proposes indefinite detention for immigrant families

Indiana residents may be aware that some of the steps President Trump has taken to slow the flow of immigrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border have been challenged in the courts by civil rights groups. The White House has scored a handful of victories in these cases and suffered many defeats, and a new legal battle seems to be brewing. On Aug. 21, the Trump administration announced that it plans to allow immigration authorities to keep migrant families in detention centers while their asylum claims are being processed. It is a move that is almost certainly going to prompt a legal challenge.

Immigrant families are currently released within 20 days under the provisions of a 1997 court settlement. The proposed rule would authorize their indefinite detention. The president’s critics say he is attempting to use his executive powers to bypass Congress and undermine immigration policies that have been in place for many years, but Trump says that he is doing what has to be done to avert a humanitarian and economic crisis.

The vast majority of the migrants who would be affected by the proposed rule are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America. Most of them file asylum claims when they reach the United States. Figures from the Department of Homeland Security reveal that immigration facilities are being overwhelmed. Federal agents have intercepted or apprehended about 475,000 migrant family members in just the past 10 months.

The process of seeking asylum can be difficult, and most petitions are rejected. People who have family members who are trying to do so might want to meet with an immigration attorney to see what type of assistance might be available.