Migrant detention rule change will hold families until court hearings

The acting Homeland Security secretary announced that the Trump administration has undone a 20-day limit on detaining migrant children.
3:36 | 08/21/19

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Transcript for Migrant detention rule change will hold families until court hearings
You know we've kept you updated on the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border lots of controversy and outrage at. At how separated families and children were being treated in these border detention facilities and and we heard from the acting secretary of Homeland Security. Kevin Mack a lean in to take a listen. Both for settlement agreement is operationally outdated and does not respond to the current immigration crisis. It has many important aspects and principals like the need for special protections for children. And high standards for government facilities. There were adopted as defining features in this new rule at the heart of this new rule are two core principles that fair and we should remain together. During immigration proceedings and that conditions for care of children must be appropriate. All right so now. The trump administration rolling out a plan for longer term detention of families. Traveling with children across the US Mexico border is I want to bring in producer quint ON NRDC bureau to explain mess Quinn it's good to see you. One asking what does this mean exactly. You act thanks for having me Kimberly so basically the government has said here you heard the acting secretary. Mention the Florida settlement agreement they say they now have. The fix to this settlement agreement which has long been the standard for sending. The rules and regulations of how to detain a lot of immigrants in detention especially as it concerns. In the current kids. And the government now says the secretary is now saying that. They have met and exceeded all these standards through this new framework that they've created in publishing this new rule. The key here though is that they do not. Set any limits for how long kids can be held. In detention. That's what the Florida settlement provided so in replacing the settlement agreement with this new rule they have. Effectively eliminated those detention limits previously the government can only detain kids for a maximum of of twenty days really. And now they will be able to hold kids in families together. If if this regulation goes through they'll -- be able to hold them together for the duration of their immigration court proceedings. Yet clan I think people have a lot of questions about this is as we know these facilities are already overcrowded so where these families going to be going. That's a big question because right now the capacity for family residential senators that are operated by immigration and customs enforcement. Is only about 3000. Customs and Border Protection has released over a 130000. Families since a march of this year. And that was an effort to. Really. Relieve the strain on the border protection system they just didn't have enough space to keep people. With this new role because they're for because they're able it's an Al keep families. And detain more families for a longer period of time they're going to need the extra bed space when I asked that acting secretary earlier today how they were going to do that. He shifted back to congress and said that congress has not provided them the bed space the detention center capacity. That they need to really detain as many people. As are coming across. Now the number of families over the past recent months has declined. Throughout the summer. And they say that when implementing this new role it will create an additional deterrent effect. For families that might think about crossing and they expect numbers to continue to decline but there's no telling if there's that will happen pressure. RA it's McQueen ON NRDC bureau with the updates thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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