In a solid blow to the Obama Administration’s family detention efforts to deter refugees from coming to he United States, a California Federal judge has ordered that the government is bound by a settlement agreement it entered into 15 years ago to not detain accompanied children in jails. From the Decision:
“Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that Defendants are in breach of the Agreement and GRANTS Plaintiffs’ motion to enforce the Agreement. … Defendants, upon taking an accompanied class member into custody, shall make and record prompt and continuous efforts toward family reunification and the release of the minor … Defendants shall comply with Paragraph 14A of the Agreement by releasing class members without unnecessary delay in first order of preference to a parent, including a parent who either was apprehended with a class member or presented herself or himself with a class member. Class members not released pursuant to Paragraph 14 of the Agreement will be processed in accordance with the Agreement, including, as applicable, Paragraphs 6, 9, 21, 22, and 23. 3. Accompanied class members shall not be detained by Defendants in unlicensed or secure facilities that do not meet the requirements of Paragraph 6 of the Settlement.”
This decision will secure the release of many of the jailed children in the United States.