Judge Says Migrant Children Are Being Held in ‘Widespread Deplorable Conditions,’ Orders Release
Federal Judge Dolly M. Gee has deemed that the detention of Central American migrant children and mothers at the U.S. border not only violates American law but also jeopardizes the families’ health and safety.
From The New York Times:
In a decision late Friday roundly rejecting the administration’s arguments for holding the families, Judge Dolly M. Gee of Federal District Court for the Central District of California found that two detention centers in Texas that the administration opened last summer fail to meet minimum legal requirements of the 1997 settlement for facilities housing children.
Judge Gee also found that migrant children had been held in “widespread deplorable conditions” in Border Patrol stations after they were first caught, and she said the authorities had “wholly failed” to provide the “safe and sanitary” conditions required for children even in temporary cells.
The opinion was a significant legal blow to detention polices ordered by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in response to an influx of children and parents, mostly from Central America, across the border in South Texas last summer. In her 25-page ruling, Judge Gee gave a withering critique of the administration’s positions, declaring them “unpersuasive” and “dubious” and saying officials had ignored “unambiguous” terms of the settlement. … Judge Gee’s decision was based on the 18-year-old settlement in a hard-fought class action lawsuit, known as Flores, that has governed the treatment of minors apprehended at the border who are unaccompanied — not with a parent. Judge Gee found that the Flores settlement, which has been carried out with little dispute from the federal authorities, also applies to children caught with their parents.
The judge also found that the family detention centers in Texas were a “material breach” of provisions requiring that minors be placed in facilities that are not secured like prisons and are licensed to take care of children. The detention centers are secure facilities run by private prison contractors. …“This decision confirms that the mass detention of refugee children and their mothers violates U.S. law,” said Elora Mukherjee, a law professor at Columbia University who with her students has represented women at the Texas detention centers. “Prolonging their detention even a single day in light of this decision would be illegal.”
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi ZapataWait, before you go…
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