Government Continues Incarcerating Mothers and Children Despite Judge’s Ruling
Washington, D.C.–Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), the American Immigration Council, Refugee andImmigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), partners in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, are calling on the government to fully comply with U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee’s ruling concerning the inhumane incarceration of mothers and children fleeing violence and persecution.
For more than a year, the federal government has disregarded the Flores Settlement Agreement which, for nearly two decades, set the binding minimum standards for the detention and treatment of immigrant children. On July 24 and August 21, 2015, the court ordered the government to implement remedies by October 23, 2015. Although the government has appealed that decision, it did not request a stay of the order. Thus, the court’s ruling stands as the appeal moves forward, and as of today, children should be released “without unnecessary delay.”
As of October 23, 2015, the CARA Project’s data indicates that approximately 195 families that we represent have been confined in family detention facilities in Texas for more than twenty days. The number of client families detained for longer than five days is even higher. We estimate that 507 families, represented by the CARA Project, have been detained for more than five days. These numbers only include family units represented by the CARA Project, so the numbers of children and mothers held in violation of the Flores ruling is likely significantly higher.
The Department of Homeland Security has not taken the steps necessary to comply with the court order. Moreover, its attempts to fast-track state licensing of the Texas facilities and to coerce mothers into accepting ankle monitors without their attorneys present, as well as the continuing deplorable medical care, show that they are betting everything on the success of an appeal to the court’s order.
Considering that the health and well-being of thousands of children and their mothers is at stake, the government’s continuing policy of detaining families is a slap in the face to judicial authority and our nation’s values. The government should immediately cease this abhorrent practice. Until then, the CARA Project will continue to monitor and document the government’s failure to meet the Flores settlement standards.
A fact sheet answering some frequently asked questions about the Flores settlement is available here.
Press inquiries, please contact:
AILA: Belle Woods, [email protected], 202-507-7675
Council: Wendy Feliz, [email protected], 202-507-7524
RAICES: Mohammad Abdollahi, [email protected], 210-544-7811
CLINIC: Patricia Zapor, [email protected], 301-565-4830