Family Case Management Program (FCMP)
A program through which case managers worked to ensure that individuals complied with their legal obligations as they moved through their immigration proceedings. Steps in the compliance program included check-ins with ICE, attendance at immigration court hearings, and acceptance of removal orders. These measures were overseen by trained caseworkers who could also ensure that participants in the program remained in their community of residence with their family. This program is often cited as an alternative to immigrant detention. It operated in five metropolitan areas (Baltimore/D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Chicago) and achieved 99 percent compliance for check-ins and 100 percent compliance for court hearings. The program cost $36 a day per person, compared with $133 per day per person for detention. FCMP was terminated by the Trump administration.
Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA)
A 1997 settlement that resulted from a court case, Flores v. Reno, which established the illegality of detaining migrant minors at the U.S. border for more than 20 days. The agreement also established various standards for detention. A federal circuit court ruling determined that this agreement pertained to both minors traveling with families and unaccompanied minors. The Trump administration challenged this court decision as it sought a legal basis for a “get tough” policy intended to discourage refugee flow to our southern border. The goal was to establish the right to separate minors from their families in the name of a “zero tolerance” or family separation policy. This court challenge ultimately failed at the court of appeals level and today the Biden administration is not objecting to the Flores standards or separating minors from their families. However, the number of refugees seeking to cross our southern border is rising as conditions deteriorate in Central America. Intact families are sometimes turned away to fend for themselves but unaccompanied minors generally are not. As the numbers of minors allowed to cross the border surges, finding adequate interim housing for them, achieving temporary placements in the U.S. within 20 days and other aspects of Flores compliance have proven extraordinarily difficult. Republican critics have forced Biden into a defensive crouch on this issue and his senior administrators have had to argue that their struggles to comply with Flores constitute a challenge but not a crisis.