United States Ambassador Nikki Haley announced today that the U.S. has pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Haley blasted the council as a "cesspool of political bias" and accused the body of "politicizing and scapegoating countries with positive human rights records." The withdrawal comes at a time when the United States is receiving harsh criticism for its immigration policy, which the UN Human Rights Council has called to end. Haley criticized the council; "Once again, the United Nations shows its hypocrisy by calling out the United States while it ignores the reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council," she said.
Immigration has been the hot topic in American news for the past week, but what exactly are we discussing? For context: back in 1997 a settlement was reached regarding the detention, treatment, and release of children. The settlement is known as the Flores Settlement Agreement (Flores) and imposed several obligations on the immigration authorities, which fall into three broad categories:
1. The government is required to release children from immigration detention without unnecessary delay to, in order of preference, parents, other adult relatives, or licensed programs willing to accept custody.
2. If a suitable placement is not immediately available, the government is obligated to place children in the “least restrictive” setting appropriate to their age and any special needs.
3. The government must implement standards relating to the care and treatment of children in immigration detention.
Although this is not a law signed in by Congress it is still a practice and recognized standard in the United States. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw from San Diego California cited Flores in one of his most recent opinions. Sabraw refused the Trump administration's request to dismiss a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenging the practice of separating migrant parents and children at the U.S. border. “Such conduct, if true, as it is assumed to be on the present motion, is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency,” Sabraw wrote. "The facts alleged are sufficient to show the government conduct at issue ‘shocks the conscience’ and violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to family integrity.” The lawsuit dismissal was rejected due to the federal government’s flawed argument that the practice of separating families cannot be challenged on Constitutional grounds. There was an additional challenge raised before the court, that the separation of families violated asylum law. Judge Sabraw did dismiss this challenge.
Trump is scheduled to head to the Hill tonight at 5:30 to continue the discussion on immigration, specifically two bills bending a house vote. Trump will speak in HC-5 -- the party's Capitol basement meeting room -- before the first vote series of the week.Trump will attempt to sell Republicans on voting for both immigration bills: the hard-line proposal penned by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, and the compromise bill penned by the GOP leadership. Goodlatte has next to no chance of passage -- it's expected to fall between 60 and 70 votes short. The compromise bill has a prayer, but most people involved in the planning believe it is also likely to fail. Friday morning in a spontaneous interview with Fox & Friend, Trump said he "certainly" would not sign the moderate immigration bill, which, of the two the House will vote on, is the leadership's compromise bill. Days later the White House press pool sent this, from Raj Shah: "The President fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill. In this morning's interview, he was commenting on the discharge petition in the House, and not the new package. He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills." Although unlikely, there is always a chance the bills could pass. Trump could rally support and move a few dozen votes or members of the GOP could begin to feel this is the path that leads to ending separation at the border.