Court Finds Government Violating Obligations (Again) to Children in Family Detention

Court Finds Government Violating Obligations (Again) to Children in Family Detention

June 28, 2017

Washington D.C. – Last night, a U.S. District Court condemned the federal government for continuing to disregard critical protections for children in detention. Since the summer of 2014, the government has detained thousands of mothers and children fleeing violence in Central America. Although the longstanding Flores settlement guarantees minimum standards for the detention, release, and treatment of children in immigration detention, the government has failed to comply with the settlement.

Two years ago, a civil rights organization, on behalf of immigrant children, brought suit to enforce the Flores settlement. In July and August of 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly M. Gee said the government must apply the settlement to all minors, including those detained with family members.

However, the government still refuses to comply with the settlement. According to the judge, the government is still holding children too long, in substandard conditions, and in non-licensed facilities.

The judge also ordered the government to identify a Juvenile Coordinator within 30 days of the order. The coordinator will report directly to the court on the government’s compliance with the Flores settlement. If the court is not satisfied with the government’s progress after one year, it may appoint an independent monitor.

“Two years later, we’re still fighting for children to be treated fairly. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of mothers and their minor children are being deprived of adequate food, clean drinking water, and proper sleeping and sanitary conditions. Then they are sent to unlicensed, remote detention centers, where they are held for far too long,” said Kathryn Shepherd, Family Detention Fellow at the American Immigration Council. “They are forced to overcome numerous obstacles to a fair day in court. This is unacceptable. The government must finally take seriously its obligations to care for and respect the rights of children.”

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For press inquiries, contact Wendy Feliz at [email protected] or 202-507-7524 

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