News Releases

Folks sitting and looking at newspapers, phones, and tablets

NASW Joins Amicus Brief Opposing Move to End Flores Settlement

WASHINGTON, DC – As part of a coalition of organizations dedicated to protecting the health and welfare of all children, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) signed an amicus brief filed by Arent Fox LLP in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in support of the Plaintiff in Jenny Lisette Flores, et al., v. William Barr, Attorney General of the United States, et al.

On Aug. 21, 2019, the Trump Administration announced a Final Rule that would weaken protections for migrant children and make it easier to imprison them and their families for longer periods of time.

Social workers adamantly oppose the Trump Administration's new regulations that overturn protections guaranteed to immigrant children under the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA).

"This reprehensible policy will cause irreparable traumatic harm to children," said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, Ph.D. "Changing the Flores rule is not only irresponsible but reflects a willful disregard for the safety and emotional well-being of these children," he said.

"The Trump Administration's Final Rule deviates radically from the Flores settlement and directly harms immigrant children in a multitude of ways," said Arent Fox Partner David L. Dubrow, lead attorney on the amicus brief. "These changes weaken protections for migrant children, resulting in more children being detained for greater periods of time under materially worse conditions."

The amicus brief argues that the Trump Administration's Final Rule irresponsibly counters various court decisions implementing the FSA and ignores the recommendations of its own Department of Homeland Security advisory committee that "detention or the separation of families for purposes of immigration enforcement or management are never in the best interest of children." The brief also argues that long-term detention of children has a proven devastating impact on their health, education and general welfare. This is particularly true for infants. The amicus brief advocates for family unification in the community, not in detention centers.

"As a nation, we must always take steps to PROTECT children," McClain said. "NASW calls on Congress to use its constitutional authority to insist the Trump Administration rescind this rule change. The United States must take action to seek a safer future for all migrant children."

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest association of professional social workers in the United States, with nearly 120,000 members in 55 chapters providing vitally-needed services in a broad range of settings. The Association also works to advance policies at all levels of government, including immigration and child welfare policies, in alignment with the profession's values and Code of Ethics. NASW develops policy statements on issues of importance to society and the social work profession, including, inter alia, child welfare and immigration issues. NASW actively supports efforts to ensure that our most vulnerable children are served by systems designed to protect them from abuse and ensure their well-being. This includes efforts to ensure that children from immigrant families, regardless of citizenship status, are provided with the same societal protections as children from non-immigrant families. Advancing these rights is a vital priority for the social work profession in the twenty-first century.

The following NASW Chapters, in particular, also support the position of their attorneys general in a related lawsuit: NASW-CA, NASW-MA, NASW-CT, NASW-DE, NASW-DC, NASW-IL, NASW-ME, NASW-MD, NASW-MI, NASW-MN, NASW-NV, NASW-NJ, NASW-NM, NASW-NYS, NASW-NYC, NASW-OR, NASW-PA, NASW-RI, NASW-VT, NASW-VA, and NASW-WA.

The following organizations, which are committed to the care, health, well-being, and welfare of children in the United States have signed the amicus brief as amici curiae: the National Association of Social Workers (NASW); The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP); Save the Children Federation; Save the Children Action Network; The American Academy of Pediatrics; First Focus On Children; Children's Defense Fund (CDF); ZERO TO THREE; The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children; American Academy of Pediatrics, California; Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; The United States Fund for UNICEF dba UNICEF USA; American Medical Association (AMA); American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO; California American Professional Society on The Abuse of Children (CAPSAC); National Education Association (NEA); American Psychoanalytic Association (APSA); Women's Refugee Commission; The American Psychiatric Association (APA); and the Texas Pediatric Society, Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Learn more by reading the entire brief here.

Press release from Arent Fox