Quoting a newcases in places of detention for migrant families, a federal judge monitoring trials concerning the protection of minors who do not have documents in custody on Friday ordered immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) to release the children that the agency has with its parents or legal guardians.
U.S. Judge Dolly G. of the Los Angeles Federal District Court has appointed the ICE on July 17 to release all minors who have been in custody for more than 20 days. Gee, who monitors the government’s compliance with the Flores Settlement Agreement, which regulates the care of juveniles in US immigration custody, referred to the first cases of coronavirus among migrant families that ICE holds in its three family centers, or FRC.
“Given the severity of the outbreak in the districts in which the FRC is located, and the observations of Independent Monitor and Dr. Wise about non-observance or strict observance of the rules of camouflage and social distance, it is necessary to make new and more energetic efforts for the transmission of (children). ) reside in FRC in non-congregational places, “Gee wrote in her order.
“FRCs are on fire, and there’s no more time for half measures,” she continued.
Gee said that ICE has two ways to release juveniles in custody before July 17. ICE can transfer them to other family members if their parents agree to be separated from them. Or, ICE can bring families into custody together, which allows them to continue their immigration procedures in communities in the United States.
Regarding the latter option, the ICE will have to use its wide release authority to release parents who are not entitled to any protection in the Flores settlement, including its mandatory mandate that the government immediately remove migrant children from places imprisonment.
Peter Shay, the second lawyer in the original lawsuit, which paved the way for Flores’ consent order, praised Friday’s order.
“We are grateful that the federal court has again entered into this crisis and ordered the release of all underage relatives in the United States over the next three weeks, while the parent who is with the child wants their child to be released,” Shay wrote in a statement to CBS News . “Some detained parents threatened with deportation brought their children to this country to save them from rampant and uncontrolled violence in their home countries, and would prefer to be released to relatives here rather than deported with their parents to countries where children are in danger, and sometimes death. “
In addition to 11 cases of coronavirus among migrant families onMore than 2,500 adult prisoners with ICE tested positive for COVID-19. Two immigrants died from complications caused by the coronavirus, while in custody of the agency.
ICE detains adult immigrants and families with children whom the government is trying to deport. Ji’s order in 2015 generally prohibited the agency from detaining minors and their families in unlicensed facilities for more than 20 days, with the exception of limited exceptions.
The agency currently has about 124 children with parents or legal guardians in three family prisons in Texas and Pennsylvania. In response to another order from Ji, ICE officials recently conducted a parole check on all children in custody in April, but rejected most of their requests for release. Among other reasons, ICE said it did not provide parole to most families because parents didn’t agree to break up from their children so that minors can be released to sponsors.
In her order on Friday, Gee demanded that ICE provide “detailed, individual” explanations if the agency did not release minors who had been detained for more than 20 days. Saying that families are named in federal trials or awaiting a decision from immigration judges or asylum officers will not be an “acceptable explanation,” she said.
“For every juvenile who has been detained in the FRC for more than 20 days, a satisfactory explanation may be the absence of a suitable sponsor, the refusal of the parent / guardian to waive the rights to Flores or the previous inexplicable refusal to appear at the scheduled hearing. to continue detention if this explanation is confirmed in the statement of the ICE representative under penalty of perjury, “Ji continued in her order.
Gee also ordered ICE to “urgently” take measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in family detention centers. She referred to a recent report in which an independent observer tasked with verifying compliance with the Flores ICE agreement said officials at two family detention centers did not fully comply with social distance rules or disguise wearing rules.
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on a Friday order.