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A migrant child playing with toys at El Calvario Methodist Church, June 3, Las Cruces, New Mexico (photo illustration). Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP

Donald Trump's government announced on Wednesday (August 20th) that it would remove the strict limits on the time spent in detention centers by migrant children, as part of its policy of firmness in the face of illegal immigration.

The US Department of Homeland Security said it was putting an end to a 1997 court ruling, " Flores ", which ordered federal authorities not to detain children for more than 20 days. A new rule, which must be implemented within 60 days, will no longer limit the time spent by children or their families in detention centers.

" To protect these children from abuse and stop the illegal flow of migrants," we must put an end to these legal loopholes, "said US President Donald Trump, according to a statement from the White House. " This is an urgent humanitarian need. "

With the arrival each month at the US border of tens of thousands of family migrants or single minors, especially from Central America, the Republican government of Donald Trump has been accused of separating children from their parents, kept in detention in order to respect the "Flores" standard.

" A cruel attack against children "

The reform announced Wednesday aims to " ensure that foreign families can be together during immigration formalities ," says the White House. " This year we saw an unprecedented flow of families, mostly from Central America, arriving at our southwestern border ," Kevin McAleenan, acting Minister of Homeland Security, told a news conference.

The " Flores " rule has " usually forced the authorities to release families in the country after 20 days, encouraging illegal entry ," he said, while migration formalities can take months or even years. Human rights organizations have announced that they will fight the repeal of the " Flores " standard.

" This is a new cruel attack against children " migrants, denounced a leader of the American association ACLU, Madhuri Grewal. " The government should not imprison children, and should even less seek to put more children in prison, for longer ," she added.

The regulation released Wednesday, recalls the US channel CBS , " is the latest measure of the Trump administration to radically reshape the country's immigration system ." This is not new, since it goes back to the first week of his term, when the US president issued a decree aimed at limiting the number of refugees that could be admitted to the country - especially those from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

( With AFP )

►Also read: United States: more than 900 migrant children separated from their parents in one year