Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has dropped the practice of coordinating plans for immigrant families seeking asylum in Arizona following release from detention but still waiting for a court decision on their fate. Until Sunday, the agency conducted reviews, including the confirmation of bus routes, communication with members of families, coordinating with NGOs, and ensuring that asylum seekers would have a way to get to a final destination inside the US before their release from custody.
The decision to drop the practice is likely to make it necessary for a greater amount of non-governmental support, with immigrant families continuing to be released from detention without travel or communication plans.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, said the process was self-imposed, and that conducting such reviews is not a requirement of the agency. She added that ICE does not have the capacity to continue conducting such reviews because of the large volume of families arriving at the Arizona border without the potential risk of violating the Flores limitations on how long minors can remain in both ICE and Customs and Border Protection custody.
Now decades old, the Flores settlement is a court agreement that placed limits on how long undocumented immigrant minors could be detained. It is now being challenged in court after Central California’s US District Court rejected a government request allowing them to hold minors for more than 20 days to keep detained families together this summer.