I just wanted to share the good news with you, in case you didn’t see it! A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government’s detention of children and their mothers is a serious violation of the 1997 Flores settlement, and has ordered their release immediately. This ruling hopefully means that we will be seeing an end to the wide-scale practice of family detention. (Please note that this ruling, however, does not impact adult immigration detention. That practice – in places like Jena and Basile – continues on.)
The U.S. government still has the ability to detain mothers and children, but only on a short-term basis, or else they have to meet specific criteria. In the next few weeks, we will hopefully see a transition to detaining, processing and promptly releasing these families at the border on ‘alternatives to detention’ (i.e. ankle monitoring bracelets, in person reporting, telephonic reporting, etc.) There are currently three family residential centers in the U.S., but the ones that have received the most critical attention in the last year are the facilities that were stood up quickly near the southern border when the border influx hit in 2014 (Dilley, Karnes, and previous to that – Artesia.)
This is a huge victory for advocates, and more importantly, for the women and children that fled horrific conditions in Central America with their children, seeking safety in the U.S., only to wind up detained for many, many months with no end in sight. Many of us fought hard against these inhumane policies over the last year, and we have sadly witnessed hunger strikes, botched mass vaccinations of children and suicide attempts as some of the women grew depressed over being stuck inside these facilities with their kids. Now that should hopefully, finally, be over!
I’m attaching a copy of Judge Gee’s order, as well as a backgrounder on how the Flores settlement relates to judge’s order on Friday compelling the government to comply. Also, here is a link to a NY Times article with more information as well: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/26/us/detained-immigrant-children-judge-dolly-gee-ruling.html?_r=1
Thanks all. One BIG step forward! 🙂
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