Federal Court Questions Detention of Immigrant Youth

September 23, 2016

YLC was of counsel on a recent motion to enforce the settlement agreement in Flores v. Lynch which challenged the federal government’s practice of indefinitely detaining immigrant children without a hearing.  The Flores settlement agreement requires that children be provided with bond redetermination hearings in front of an immigration judge.  The government has consistently failed to provide these hearings to children detained in juvenile halls and other secure facilities, leaving young people with little ability to challenge their detention or information about when or how they might be released.  Youth Law Center’s expertise in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems was instrumental in demonstrating that the government’s position is completely incompatible with the protections normally provided to detained children.

United States District Court Judge Dolly Gee held a hearing on the motion on September 16, 2016.  Government attorneys argued that providing due process to detained children would be a “waste of resources.”  Judge Gee responded that she found the government’s argument “problematic” because it could “potentially result in indefinite detention without any due process.”  Lead Counsel Carlos Holguin noted that any process would be a substantial improvement for young people, who are currently “left twisting in the wind” because they are not provided with evidence supporting their detention or any opportunity to appeal.