Sunday, June 28, 2020

Judge Orders ICE to Free Detained Immigrant Children Because of COVID-19

Vanessa Romo for NPR reports that, citing the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus, a federal judge has ordered that all children currently held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for more than 20 days must be released by July 17.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of California issued the order on Friday afternoon, saying the Trump administration had failed to provide the most basic health protections for children and their families amid the pandemic.

She described the ICE-operated facilities as being "on fire," adding that "there is no more time for half measures."

"Although progress has been made, the Court is not surprised that [COVID-19] has arrived at both the [Family Residential Centers] and [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities, as health professionals have warned all along," Gee wrote.

The order applies to all three of the family detention facilities in the United States. Two are located in Texas, and a third is in Pennsylvania, as well as shelters housing unaccompanied minors.

Holly Cooper, co-director of the University of California, Davis Immigration Law Clinicand one of the attorneys representing the class members in the lawsuit, said she is elated by the latest ruling.


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