SEATTLE, Wa. (CNN) — Nineteen states are suing over the Trump Administration’s effort to alter a federal agreement that limits how long migrant children can be kept in detention.
A 1997 agreement known as the Flores Settlement says immigrant children must be kept in the least restrictive setting and generally shouldn’t spend more than 20 days in detention.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said last week it would create new regulations on how migrant children are treated. The administration wants to remove court oversight and allow families in detention for longer than 20 days.
A judge must okay the Trump Administration’s proposed changes in order to end the agreement, and a legal battle is expected.
Washington state is one of the states now filing suit.
“Since 2013, more than 2,500 children have been released into Washington. When we welcome those children into our communities, state-run programs and services bear the burden of the long-term impacts of the trauma those children endured in detention,” said Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General.
About 475,000 families have crossed the border so far this fiscal year, nearly three times the previous full-year record for families.