basic rights
August 15, 2019

A three-judge panel for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled on Thursday that migrant children detained by the government must be provided with edible food, water, soap, and toothpaste.

Under the 1997 settlement known as the Flores agreement, children in custody have to live in safe and sanitary quarters, and the judges dismissed the Trump administration's argument that facilities do not have to offer certain items, like soap and toothbrushes. "Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste, and are not sleep-deprived are without doubt essential to the children's safety," the panel wrote.

The judges upheld an order issued in 2017 by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee, who ruled that U.S. Customs and Border Protection was not giving kids in custody basic hygiene items or sufficient food. Since then, lawyers, advocates, and lawmakers have toured border facilities, and interviewed migrants who said conditions were unsanitary, there weren't enough beds for everyone, and the food was not edible. Catherine Garcia

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