U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee rejected the Trump administration’s request to allow long-term detention of illegal immigrant children, a legal setback for President Donald Trump’s push to detain immigrant families taken into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border.
She dismissed the U.S. Justice Department’s proposal to modify a 1997 settlement known as the “Flores Agreement”, which says that children cannot be held in detention for long periods, as “dubious and unconvincing”.
The government asserted in its Flores filing that the San Diego ruling would necessitate longer-term detention of children, since that would be the only way to both reunite them with their parents and keep the parents incarcerated during their immigration proceedings. Gee rejected that argument.
Dozens of Immigrant Children to Be Reunited with Parents
Dozens of immigrant children will be released from detention centers and reunited with their parents. A government lawyer said that at least 54 children under the age of 5 would join their parents by a court-ordered deadline, only about half the 100 or so children covered by the order. The Trump administration was working on final background checks for another five children ahead of the deadline.
More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents by U.S. immigration authorities at the border this spring before President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an international outcry. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said there were “under 3,000” separated children in all.
Late last month, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego set a 14-day deadline to reunite children under 5 with their parents and a 30-day deadline for older children. The 30-day deadline is up July 26.