Judge denies Trump request to detain immigrant families in long-term facilities

Lester Mason
July 10, 2018

A federal judge in Los Angeles on Monday flatly rejected the Justice Department's attempt to modify a decades-old settlement agreement that limits the length of time and conditions under which USA officials may detain immigrant children.

At least 50 immigrant children under age 5 will be released with their parents by Tuesday's court-ordered deadline for the Trump administration to reunify families forcibly separated at the border, a government attorney said today.

The government asked Gee to suspend the Flores settlement's requirement that immigrant children be held only in facilities that meet state child welfare licensing regulations, so as to allow whole families to be detained together.

Three years ago, Gee rejected a similar effort by the Obama administration.

Immigrant children now housed in a tent encampment under the new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration are shown walking in single file at the facility near the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 19, 2018.

Last month, the Justice Department sought to modify an agreement in Flores v. Reno, saying they were bound by a prohibition that restricted the detention of immigrant children to 20 days.

Amending the so-called Flores settlement was a key part of President Donald Trump's executive order ending the practice of family separations.

"We disagree with the court's ruling declining to amend the Flores Agreement to recognize the current crisis of families making the risky and unlawful journey across our southern border, " spokesman Devin O'Malley said in a statement.

The government asserted in its Flores filing that the San Diego ruling would necessitate longer-term detention of children, since that would be the only way to both reunite them with their parents and keep the parents incarcerated during their immigration proceedings. She said the delay for others was due to a variety of reasons, including that the parents of some of the youngsters had already been deported.

Politico reported Monday night at the U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee dismissed the administration's argument as "tortured". Gee rejected that argument on several grounds, saying the USA was relying on a "tortured interpretation" of the deal.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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