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Children in cages

Representing all detained minors in the Flores case
Ensuring CBP conditions are safe and sanitary
Securing the prompt release of all detained minors
Conducting inspections of detention facilities nationwide
Uniting detained minors with their families living in the U.S.
Establishing legal measures to prevent family separation

Project Reunify

The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) is a non-profit legal services organization that represents all detained immigrant children in the United States through the Flores v. Garland class action case.


Since 1997, CHRCL has had a nationwide settlement agreement with the government that sets the national standards for humane treatment and prompt release from custody of detained immigrant children.


Under the settlement, CHRCL is the only non-governmental organization in the country permitted to inspect every detention site where children are detained and to interview and assess the treatment of all detained children.

In 2002, CHRCL finalized a supplemental settlement with the Department of homeland security regarding the conditions of detentions of children in Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso CBP sectors. The CBP settlement will remain in effect until December 2024. In general, this settlement requires CBP to provide medical assessments and treatments of detained minors and establishes standards for medical assessments and treatment of minors, nutrition standards, temperature controls, sleeping quarters, hygiene and sanitation standards, family unity while detained, caregiver services for minors, access to clean and dry clothing, and the appointment of a Juvenile Care Monitor.

The history of the litigation was published by the New York Times on August 20, 2019 in an article entitled The History of Migrant Children Protection in America Started With Two Girls in Los Angeles

Action Plan

Child fenced in

How we Have Unique Access

In 1997, after ten years of litigation, CHRCL reached a historic nationwide settlement with the Government addressing the conditions of detention of immigrant minors and their right to release from custody. In summary, the Flores Settlement requires the Government to detain minors in facilities licensed for the care of dependent minors. It requires that detained minors have access to a range of services including health care, education, and family reunification services. It appoints CHRCL Executive Director Peter Schey and General Counsel Carlos Holguin as class counsel for all detained minors nationwide.

Child hand fence

Fighting on Behalf of Children

We are authorized to visit border patrol facilities detaining thousands of immigrant children in Texas, Arizona, and California. With the help of volunteer lawyers and child welfare experts, we have interviewed hundreds of detained minors in Border Patrol facilities. In 2022, CHRCL reached a new settlement creating detailed policies for the Rio Grande and El Paso Border Patrol Sectors must follow where over 80% of minors are detained. The 2022 settlement requires the appointment of an independent medical monitor and among other rights requires children to be provided clothing, bedding, hygiene products, showers, adequate food, and routine medical exams and treatment as needed.


Freedom for Families

Under recent administrations, tens of thousands of children were detained with their parents at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to taxpayers. CHRCL won several court orders improving the conditions of detention for these children and requiring their release from custody in about twenty days. In 2021, with the support of numerous organizations, CHRCL urged the Biden administration to end the practice of detaining family units. In response, the Biden Administration terminated family detention, and many families are now promptly released and may apply for forms of relief allowing them to remain in the U.S.


Lawful Rights of Detained Minors

In 2022 CHRCL, in collaboration with the National Center for Youth Law, won a nationwide injunction which requires the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to decide promptly Family Reunification Applications (FRA) and inform parents or other close relatives of its reasons for refusing to reunify them with their detained minors. For any child not promptly released ORR must provide an administrative hearing before the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families or a designee at which ORR reasons for denying release may be tested.

Monitoring Detention Sites

As class counsel for all detained minors, CHRCL Executive Director Peter Schey and General Counsel Carlos Holguin are authorized to inspect all facilities where immigrant minors are detained and interview minors held at those facilities. Additionally, they are authorized to deputize volunteer attorneys, child welfare experts, and interpreters to participate in these inspections and interviews. Select the volunteer link below if you wish to register to participate in Flores monitoring visits. 

Sad child


For many years we have worked with community-based organizations and legal services groups routinely exchanging information and providing updates, technical support, and trainings regarding the rights of detained minors under the Flores 1997 settlement and subsequent Court orders. Legal services organization and pro-bono attorneys representing immigrant minors may contact us for technical support needed to resolve individual cases. For cases involving unaccompanied minors detained by ORR please email For cases involving family detention or detention by CBP please email

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