Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Federal judge rejects Trump's request to allow long-term detention of immigrant kids

President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks onstage during a rally in Great Falls Montana U.S. on Thursday Bloomberg via Getty Images President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks onstage during a rally in Great Falls Montana U.S. on Thursday
Jeannette Daniel | 10 July, 2018, 14:43

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 United States officials may detain immigrant children.

Judge Dolly Gee delivered a blow to President Donald Trump's plan to address the crisis he created at the U.S. -Mexico border when his administration began enforcing a zero-tolerance policy against unauthorized border crossers and started separating immigrant children from their parents en masse.

The Justice Department had asked Gee to suspend the Flores settlement requirement that immigrant children only be held in facilities that meet state welfare licensing regulations.

"It is apparent that [the government's] application is a cynical attempt, on an ex parte basis, to shift responsibility to the Judiciary for over 20 years of Congressional inaction and ill-considered Executive action that have led to the current stalemate", Gee writes.

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

More news: Williams knows Wimbledon's top-10 seeds stat needs asterisk

More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents by USA immigration authorities at the border with Mexico this spring before President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry. A judge in a different case in San Diego ordered the government last month to reunite the families it had separated.

In a statement, U.S. Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley said the administration disagreed with the ruling but said it appeared to allow the government to continue some practices.

Gee, however, was not persuaded that the two court orders were in conflict, calling the Justice Department's position "tortured", and noting that both sides agreed that parents may waive their children's rights to prompt release and some parents may consent to have their child detained with them.

"Sifting through the government's false narrative, the court clearly found that the Flores settlement has never resulted in the separation of families", Schey said. Gee rejected that argument on several grounds, saying the US was relying on a "tortured interpretation" of the deal.

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