Judge denies Trump request to detain immigrant families in long-term facilities

Judge rejects Trump request to allow migrant children to be detained for longer than 20 days | TheHill

A USA federal judge on Monday rejected the Trump administration's request to allow long-term detention of illegal immigrant children, a setback for President Donald Trump's executive order to end the separation of immigrant families. Justice Department officials had for weeks said the seperations were unavoidable because the 1997 settlement bars authorities from detaining children when their parents are arrested for trying to enter the USA illegally. "For weeks, we watched in horror as children have been ripped from their parents, but the remedy for family separation is not, and never will be, holding them indefinitely in detention facilities that are functionally prisons".

But Gee made clear that she was not impressed. She said the application to change the agreement in the case named for lead plaintiff Jenny Flores was "procedurally improper and wholly without merit".

Gee called the administration's request for relief from the Flores agreement "a cynical attempt... to shift responsibility to the judiciary for over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered executive action".

"Defendants seek to light a match to the Flores Agreement and ask this Court to upend the parties' agreement by judicial fiat", Gee wrote in the ruling.

The administration did not immediately say whether it'd appeal Gee's ruling.

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Attorney Peter Schey, who represents detained children in the settlement, said President Donald Trump had falsely claimed the settlement required the separation of families.

The decision comes on the eve of another federal judge's deadline to reunite all parents separated from their children under the age of five.

It remains unclear what comes next for Trump and his immigration policy, which faces some of the same hard problems that confronted his predecessor.

The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, eventually settled on a policy of releasing some immigrants while their legal proceedings unfold - but Trump has derided the practice as ineffective "catch and release". "Regardless, what is certain is that the children who are the beneficiaries of the Flores Agreement's protections and who are now in Defendants' custody are blameless". "In implementing the Agreement, their best interests should be paramount".

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