Co-sponsors: Latin American and Latinx Studies, Asian American Studies, Center for Africana Studies, Department of Africana Studies, Russian and Eastern European Studies, Alpha Phi Omega, Penn for Immigrant Rights
Fernando Chang-Muy, Thomas O’Boyle Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
Gabriela Castaneda, Human Rights Defender, Communications Director, Border Network for Human Rights
Rob Buscher, Lecturer, Asian American Studies Program
Overview of the Flores Settlement
In June 2019, a team of lawyers went to two immigration detention centers in Texas as monitors for the Flores Settlement Agreement. As monitors, job is to ask young people under the age of 18 a standard series of questions, which are intended to evaluate whether or not the U.S. Gov't is in compliance with the protections outlined in the Flores Settlement Agreement - this is a 1997 agreement that establishes protections for young people under the age of 18 when they are in U.S. immigration detention, ie, they must be held in the least restrictive area possible, must have access to safe and sanitary conditions, should released to a guardian in the U.S. without any unnecessary delay, and held in detention no longer than 72 hours. Many of the lawyers on that trip in June 2019 were experienced monitors and had been to detention facilities many times before. The conditions they saw there were so detrimental, and there were so many violations that they made an unusual decision to break their confidentiality agreement that is part of their work as monitors, and take their experience to the press, which is how the general public found out about the conditions in the detention centers last summer. One of the lawyers from that trip gave a copy of the testimonies (which had all identifying information redacted) to Waterwell - a production company in NYC - and asked if we could make some kind of project that would give more people in the U.S. the opportunity to experience these stories first-hand. We created The Flores Exhibits videos and websites in response to that conversation with Elora, and have instigated these partnerships with organizations around the country to host events using the videos as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue about immigration.