A spokesperson for the US Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) said in an email statement Wednesday that because the number of unaccompanied children being detained is placing a strain on ORR resources, ORR is scaling back programs at the shelters where the children are detained.
The programs that will be reduced are the English language classes, recreational programs including sports, and legal aid services provided to the detained children. These activities have been selected as “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety,” under the Antideficiency Act.
However, cutting these programs may be in violation of the Flores Settlement Agreement, which was reached in 1997. The agreement sets out limits on the length of time that children can be detained and encourages that migrant children are released to family members or someone acting in the capacity of a legal guardian as quickly as possible. The Agreement also stipulates that unaccompanied immigrant children should have access to programs such as educational services while they are detained.