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Flores Settlement Agreement

President Clinton signed the Flores Settlement Agreement in 1997 to reform legal procedures surrounding immigrant minors.


The Flores Settlement Agreement originates from Reno v. Flores, a Circuit Court case wherein an immigrant minor, Jenny Flores, was detained alongside adults. In early 1997, President Clinton signed the FSA to resolve over a decade of “Flores” immigration cases stemming from 1985 Flores v. Meese. The FSA’s significant points include:

  1. The government must release children “without unnecessary delay” to the children’s parents, legal guardians, other adult relatives, or another individual designated by the parents/guardians.
  2. The government will put children in the “least restrictive” setting appropriate.
  3. The government will create and implement standards for the care and treatment of immigrant children in detention.

The FSA remains the primary legislation mandating child-parent separations and “catch-and-release” policies. Several Republicans, most notably Ted Cruz (R-TX), called on Congress to suspend the FSA in favor of other legislation. In 2019, President Trump and 20 states filed legal challenges for and against the FSA.