Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that a Chicago-led coalition of 19 cities and counties filed an amicus brief in Flores v. Sessions late last night in support of the plaintiffs’ request for the court to enjoin the implementation of rules proposed by the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services that would undo state-licensing requirements and procedural protections guaranteed to immigrant children being detained by the federal government under the 1997 Flores settlement agreement.
“Children and families seeking safety and a brighter future in America should not be detained or warehoused as criminals, and Chicago is proud to lead the fight against policies that are cruel, unnecessary and unlawful. Chicago is a city built on the contributions of immigrants and refugees, and we will always welcome and stand up for those who seek a better life in our great city and this great country by fighting back against the Trump Administration and its attempts to divide families and our nation,” said Mayor Emanuel.
The amicus brief follows the Chicago-led coalition’s submission Tuesday of a comment opposing the proposed rules into the Federal Register. As the local governments explained in the comment, and as argued in today’s amicus brief, they have grave concerns with the proposed rules, which, if enacted, would result in longer detentions and lower standards of care for immigrant children, thus increasing the risks of harm to the children and impeding the local governments’ ability to ensure that they are fully integrated into their communities.
This is the second amicus brief signed by Chicago in this ongoing litigation. This past July, Judge Dolly M. Gee of the United States District Court for the Central District of California relied on the amicus brief filed by Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco when denying the Trump Administration’s request for relief from the Flores settlement agreement. Chicago and its fellow amici argued, that Judge Gee agreed, that the local governments have a strong interest in ensuring the continued enforcement of state-licensing requirements at facilities housing detained children to protect the health and safety of the children.
State child welfare licensing is a necessary check on the adequacy and competence of the organizations running the facilities holding these children. The very purpose of state licensing is to ensure a minimum standard of quality in a service field that is incredibly complex with the potential to inflict extreme harm upon an already vulnerable youth population.
This amicus brief was prepared by attorneys in Chicago’s Affirmative Litigation Division, which represents the City in a broad range of investigations and litigation matters in both federal and state courts to protect the interests of the City and the rights, health, and safety of its residents.