Mechanisms of Deterrence: Federal Immigration Policies and the Erosion of Immigrant Children’s Rights

Benjamin J. Roth, Breanne L. Grace, and Kristen D. Seay
Date of Publication: 
December, 2019
Source Organization: 

In this commentary, we highlight the US government’s proposed changes to the Flores Settlement Agreement, a federal legal settlement from the 1990s that ensures that child welfare principles are applied to immigrant children.

We describe how Flores should be understood as mitigating child trauma by ensuring a baseline standard of treatment of immigrant children. We outline how children experience trauma throughout the migration course and argue that the proposed changes decrease standards of care through indefinite child detention, separation, and delicensing immigrant child detention facilities.

We draw on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study to consider the effect these multiplying forms of trauma may have on children.

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Roth, B., Grace, B., & Seay, K. (2019). Mechanisms of deterrence: Federal immigration policies and the erosion of immigrant children’s rights. American Journal of Public Health. Retrieved from