Professor Name Day Month Year Flores v. Reno Introduction Children often and seemingly have no voice in society. Many matters are simply decided for them, and we can only hope that society truly has their best interests at heart. In essence, society must speak up for children…
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When the law catches up with the parents, however, society has long struggled with what to do with the children, particularly adolescents, while deportation proceedings are pending. Add to this the reality that there are thousands of illegal immigrant juveniles coming to the United States unaccompanied, which creates an even more muddied position where the law is concerned. There is grave disagreement in society over what to do with such immigrants who are found to be here illegally, yet lacking any strong custodial or family presence within the region. This paper deals with the facts of one such case that has caused America to re-think how they treat adolescents in such cases. Examined with be the facts and background of the case, and analysis of what the recent Flores v. Reno decision means for children of illegal immigrants today, and look at some current organisations that are providing assistance and aid to adolescents who find themselves caught in the middle of this fierce battle. Facts and Background At the time that Flores (an illegal immigrant and juvenile) was detained, prevailing Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) policy was to hold the individual in a detention center until such time that they could either be deported or otherwise dealt with in a proper and law abiding manner. The issue, however, is that such facilities do not house only juveniles. Both sexes are present, juvenile and adult. The conditions are not conducive to minors, no educational services are provided, and social arrangements are not accommodated. Even thought Flores was an illegal immigrant lacking proper documentation, the argument was that her civil rights were being gravely violated. Interestingly enough, during this time, INS shifted its policy a bit to be more flexible in its provision that an interested adult party, should they be available, could take temporary custody of the juvenile. This was only permitted in special circumstances, however, and rarely acted upon. The reason was that INS felt the juvenile would not have any reason to turn back up for deportation hearings, so they would be lost inside the system once again. Initially, the courts agreed with Flores, After the government won a series of appeals, however, the Supreme Court did eventually weigh in. In a 7-2 decision, the finding was against Flores and in favor of existing INS policy. While the various courts and Supreme Court Justices certainly wrestled with and sympathized with unaccompanied minor being detained, they did not feel that their rights were being unduly violated. They were to be remanded into INS custody, as deemed appropriate, until proper arrangements could be made for the care and/or return of the immigrants to their own country. The issue remains, of course, whether INS custody in a detention facility is the right place for a scared juvenile from another land. Subsequent to these rulings, the INS has reviewed and modified policies, insisting that they will no longer subject juveniles to facilities with opposite sex members and an adult population, in exchange for finding them custodians that can more properly care for them. Many critics remain, however, as they have cited cases in at least four different states where the detainment on unaccompanied minors continues to be detrimental to the immigrants emotional and physical well being. Analysis Recent
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