January 28, 2020

Warren Joins More than 100 Colleagues on Flores Amicus Brief Calling on Ninth Circuit to Uphold Protections for Immigrant Children

Lawmakers argue in favor of vital protections, health & safety standards for migrant children

Washington, D.C. — United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined U.S Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) along with 112 of their colleagues in submitting an amicus brief in Flores v. Barr. The brief urges the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the Trump administration’s latest attempt to use regulations to gut the Flores Settlement Agreement, which provides vital, long-standing protections ensuring minimum health and safety requirements for children in custody.

The lawmakers wrote: “Congress enacted [the Homeland Security Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008] to ensure the safety and well-being of migrant children and to set forth specific procedures for the screening, processing, and custody of those children. The regulations, by contrast, deprive children of access to those statutory protections and do not comport with the text and history of those statutes, or with Congress’s plan in passing them.”

In addition to Leader Schumer and Senator Warren, the brief was signed by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Robert P. Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bernard Sanders (D-VT), and Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT).

In addition to Speaker Pelosi, the brief was signed by U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Katherine Clark (MA-5), James McGovern (MA-2), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), Brendan Boyle (PA-2), Julia Brownley (CA-26),Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Sean Casten (IL-6), Judy Chu (CA-27), David Cicilline (RI-1), Gilbert Ray Cisneros Jr. (CA-39), Yvette Clarke (NY-9), Emmanuel Cleaver (MO-5), Steve Cohen (TN-9), Luis Correa (CA-46), Philips Dean (MN-3), Peter DeFazio (OR-4), Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Val Demings (FL-10), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Ruben Gallego (AZ-7), Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-4), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Al Green (TX-9) , Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), Debra Haaland (NM-1), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), Henry C. “Hank” Jr. Johnson (GA-4), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Derek Kilmer (WA-6), Mike Levin (CA-49), John Lewis (GA-5), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Ben Ray Luján (NM-3), Betty McCollum (MN-4), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Grace Meng (NY-6), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Joe Neguse (CO-2), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Jamie Raskin (MD-8), Kathleen Rice (NY-4), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Donna Shalala (FL-27), Albio Sires (NJ-8), Adam Smith (WA-9), Darren Soto (FL-9), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Greg Stanton (AZ-9), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Mark Takano (CA-41), Bennie Thompson (MS-2), Dina Titus (NV-1), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Norma Torres (CA-35), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Nydia Velázquez (NY-7), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Peter Welch (VT-At Large), and John Yarmuth (KY-3).

Senator Warren has taken a number of recent actions to hold immigration authorities accountable and has called for the safety and well-being of migrant children:

  • She and Senator Markey sent a letter to Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), expressing concern over poor conditions at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children (Homestead);
  • She and Representative Jayapal investigated former White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly’s “cynical” and “unethical” decision to join the board of directors of the federal contractor Caliburn International, which ran Homestead;
  • She led a letter questioning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and HHS about reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was not vaccinating migrants held in detention;
  • She and Representative DeLauro led a letter to CBP expressing their disappointment and alarm at DHS’s failure to provide flu vaccinations to migrants in CBP custody; 
  • She joined Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in calling for the federal government to investigate federal contractors in charge of migrant children detained after crossing the U.S. southern border;
  • Following reports of children dying in CBP custody, Senator Warren sent a letter demanding answers about conditions that led to the deaths of five children in the span of six months;
  • She joined Senator Casey in requesting that the Government Accountability Office investigate conditions at CBP facilities following the death of migrant children;
  • She led colleagues in a request to HHS and DHS for an anonymized list of all children and parents separated at the border as a result of the “zero tolerance” policy; and
  • She questioned GEO Group and CoreCivic about their compliance with federal immigration detention standards following a DHS Inspector General report about unsafe conditions and mistreatment of immigrants at a number of privately-run immigration detention centers.