California judge orders release of illegal immigrants

Posted Jul 26, 2015 by Karen Graham
A federal judge in California has ruled the Obama Administration's detention of mothers and their children who were caught crossing the border illegally should be released, in another apparent setback to the president's immigration policy.
A segment of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States in Hereford  Arizona.
A segment of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States in Hereford, Arizona.
In a decision handed down late Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee rejected the administration's arguments for holding the families, finding their detention "deplorable" and in violation of an earlier court settlement.
The judge cited a 1997 settlement that barred immigrant children from being held in unlicensed, secure facilities. Judge Gee found the settlement covered all children in the custody of federal immigration officials, even those being held with a parent, according to
The 1997 court settlement is a class-action lawsuit known as Flores and has governed the treatment of unaccompanied minors caught at the border, Gee's decision found the Flores settlement also applied to children caught with their parents.
Of course, the ruling also puts into question the plight of over 1,700 illegal women and children being held at at three detention facilities, two in Texas, and one in Pennsylvania. Gee said the two centers opened last summer in Texas failed to meet the "legal minimum requirements laid out in the 1997 settlement for facilities housing children."
In the 25-page ruling, Judge Gee also found that immigrant children were being held in “widespread deplorable conditions” when first caught by the U.S. Border Patrol, adding that authorities had “wholly failed” to provide the “safe and sanitary” conditions required for children even in temporary cells.
Last year, tens of thousands of women and children from Central America crossed our southern border, believing a rumor that unaccompanied children and single parents with at least one child would be allowed to stay in the U.S. Over 68,000 of these undocumented immigrants were rounded up and detained while immigration officials decided if they had the right to stay. Until new detention centers were opened, many were released and told to appear at immigration offices.
Judge Gee, in her decision, gave the administration until August 3 to respond to her ruling. In a prepared statement given to the LA Times, Marsha Catron, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said, “We are disappointed with the court's decision and are reviewing it in consultation with the Department of Justice."