Saturday, July 28, 2018
Court News: Judge Orders Independent Monitor in Flores Case, Progress Being Made in Reunifying Families
The litigation over the Trump administration's immigrant detention policies continues. There were two major developments yesterday.
CNN reports that Federal District Judge Dolly Gee will appoint an independent monitor to monitor the conditions of detention of migrant children in the US/Mexico border region. Immigration lawyers argued that the Trump administration has been holding children and their parents in inhumane conditions. The government denied the allegations, and opposed the appointment of a monitor. Judge Gee said she reached her decision after seeing a "disconnect" between government monitors' assessment of conditions in facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, and the accounts of more than 200 immigrant children and their parents detailing numerous problems, including spoiled food and foul-smelling water. "There continue to be persistent problems," US District Judge Dolly Gee said during a status conference The judge said she wants an independent monitor to report the facts to her directly, "to cut through disputes over what is happening on the ground."
The hearing was in the ongoing controversy over the "Flores settlement," the 1997 settlement agreement that set standards for the detention of migrant children. The Justice administration sought relief from the agreement so that families could be detained together.
In another case, the federal judge who ordered the reunification of thousands of migrant families says the Trump administration deserves "great credit" for its efforts. But Judge Dana Sabraw also faulted the administration for "losing" hundreds of parents, leaving a significant number of families separated a day after the court-imposed deadline to reunite them. At a status conference yesterday, Judge Sabraw said the priority now must be the hundreds of families that could not be reunited — including more than 400 children who are still in government custody because their parents were deported without them.