GOP congressman: 'Unfortunate' that kids can't be jailed for longer


Anti-immigrant Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) doesn't like the Flores settlement, which protects the well-being of immigrant children.

While most of America is appalled at the prospect of baby jails, Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA) recently complained that immigrant children can only be detained for 20 days.

His sentiments echo the new radical proposal from the Trump administration, which wants to indefinitely keep immigrant children in detention facilities.

In a recent telephone "town hall" held before the new proposal from the Trump administration, Perry was asked about Trump's family detention policy.

Speaking of immigrants crossing the border, Perry said:

If you have a child with you, unfortunately there is what's called the Flores settlement, which is a court decision that dates back to the '70s that says that, between that and a law that was passed in the Bush administration regarding human trafficking, it says that we cannot hold children with their incarcerated parents — again, their parents, but not necessarily their parents, because believe it or not, I think the latest statistics was like three-quarters of these children that come are not accompanied by their parents. They are accompanied by an adult but not their parents. So, we can only hold them together for 20 days before we have to release them.

In his response (which went on for close to five minutes), Perry did not once utter a word of regret for the tragic situation faced by families as children were ripped out of the arms of a parent and whisked away. He certainly didn't criticize the Trump's administration's policy, which has been called "unconscionable" by the head of the United Nations human rights division.

Instead, Perry started complaining about the Flores settlement, a court decree specifically designed to protect immigrant children.

The Flores settlement came about because the U.S. government was mistreating immigrant children. As part of a lawsuit, the federal government agreed to two conditions related to immigrant children: "place children with a close relative or family friend 'without unnecessary delay,' rather than keeping them in custody; and to keep immigrant children who are in custody in the 'least restrictive conditions' possible," according to Vox.

Eventually, the guidelines generally limited detainment to 20 days for children, so as to protect children and keep them as safe as possible.

In complaining about a settlement meant to protect children, Perry relied on misinformation in his response, falsely claiming that the majority of children detained are not accompanied by their parents.

According to fact-checkers, there is no reliable data on the number of unaccompanied minors, and the number cited by Perry has been widely disputed.

In the end, Perry sided with the Trump administration rather than with the best interests of children.

Court backlogs mean families, some fleeing violence and seeking asylum, are forced to wait for months or years for a court date.

If Trump and Perry get their way, children could face indefinite detainment, losing years of their childhood detained in a government facility to satisfy the whims of the fringe anti-immigrant wing of the Republican Party.