The Trump administration has signalled it plans to keep migrant children in detention longer than the 20-day limit previously allowed in a new court filing submitted to a federal judge on Friday. Justice Department lawyers have argued in the documents that an injunction against family separations handed down earlier this week trumps the long-standing practice of releasing minors “without unnecessary delay” and may force immigration authorities to hold migrant families in custody longer in order to prevent separations. The new court order “makes delay [of the 20-day limit for minors] necessary in these circumstances,” according to the court filing. The Justice Department has not provided a timeframe for how long families could remain in detention, saying only that they would remain there for the length of immigration proceedings, which can take several months. “The government will not separate families but detain families together during the pendency of immigration proceedings when they are apprehended at or between ports of entry,” the Justice Department said.
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