United States District Court Judge Dolly Gee has ruled that immigrant children who are accompanied by a parent when they are detained by immigration officials are entitled to the protections of the Settlement Agreement in Flores v Johnson. The judge found the Department of Homeland Security and other defendants in violation of the Settlement Agreement and issued an order for the defendants to show cause why she should not issue an enforcement order. The Youth Law Center is of counsel in the case.
The Flores Settlement Agreement establishes requirements for the release of minors who have been detained by immigration officials and specifies the type of facilities in which minors who have not been released can be held. The defendants argued that the Flores Settlement applies only to unaccompanied children. Judge Gee disagreed and ruled that the Settlement Agreement applies to all minors in federal immigration custody. She has given the defendants until August 6 to show cause why an enforcement order should not be entered. Plaintiffs have until August 13 to respond.
The federal government’s family detention policy has come under sharp criticism in the wake of Judge Gee’s ruling. Both the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Boards have called for an end to the practice.