Los Angeles-based U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee ruled Friday that the Trump administration is violating the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which generally requires children detained at the border to be released within 20 days. Gee has found the U.S. government to be in violation of some elements of the settlement over the years, though the latest order comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, prompting Gee to express concern about the safety of detention centers.
Gee did not agree with every claim brought forth by the plaintiffs represented by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and she did acknowledge U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had improved its response to the pandemic. But she said the agency's "picture of a sanitary, social-distance-compliant, and medically appropriate facilities" was "tarnished by declarations of detainees and their legal services providers."
Gee concluded the Office of Refugee Resettlement and ICE "shall continue to make every effort to promptly and safely release" approximately 2,100 unaccompanied minors, as well as 342 held with their families at ICE detention centers at "greater speed." Read more at CBS News and NBC News.