U.S. Says Order Reuniting Families Shows Need to Modify Flores

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government said an order this week by a federal judge that it has to reunite immigrant children with their families requires it to detain the minors.

The Justice Department said Friday that it will keep families together during their immigration proceedings when they are apprehended crossing the border illegally or seeking asylum. The U.S. said that to comply with the order not to separate families, it can’t release minors as quickly as possible from detention as it’s required to do under a 1997 agreement -- known as the Flores settlement -- on behalf of undocumented alien children.

The Trump administration had been separating children from their parents after it announced a “zero tolerance” policy to prosecute any adult crossing into the U.S.

After public outcry against the policy, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to end family separation. A day after the order, the Justice Department asked a federal judge to alter the Flores settlement immediately so it could keep families together for more than the 20-day limit mandated by Flores. The judge hasn’t ruled in that case.

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