DOJ files request to modify Flores settlement

DOJ files request to modify Flores settlement
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The Department of Justice on Thursday asked a federal district court to modify a decades-old court settlement that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention centers for more than 20 days, following President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa MORE's decision to end the practice of separating migrant children from their parents who cross the U.S. border illegally.

The agreement, which is known as the Flores settlement, was drafted in 1997. 

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The request comes a day after Trump caved under intense bipartisan pressure and signed an executive order aimed at ending family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gene Hamilton, a senior Justice Department official, said that under the executive order, the government would only be able to detain families together for “up to 20 days" due to the settlement.

The executive order directs the Justice Department to expedite immigration cases involving families.

Trump on Wednesday told Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request a change to the settlement, which allows the government “to detain alien families together" for the duration of their legal proceedings for illegal entry, asylum or deportation.

That same day the Justice Department echoed Trump's call for Congress to take action on the issue.

"Irrespective of the court's decision in Flores, it's incumbent for Congress to finally act to keep families together, end catch and release, and create the foundation for an immigration system that serves the national interest," the department said in a statement to CNN.