Homestead: Who’s Profiting from Detaining Kids? – Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
The practice of holding immigrant kids in detention is skyrocketing in the United States, with the number of children in Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody growing from less than 3,000 to nearly 15,000 in the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency.
For many families, this has meant prolonged separation and trauma. For a handful of contractors, however, it means big business.
Isn’t child detention illegal?
Yes, it is. U.S. laws like the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and a binding legal agreement (the “Flores Settlement”) place strict limits on how long the government can detain immigrant children and under what conditions. The core principle of these safeguards is that the government must prioritize the best interests of the child, placing kids in the “least restrictive setting” and reunifying them with family whenever possible and consistent with their well-being.