This past Friday, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered the release of immigrant children and parents who crossed the border last summer fleeing increased gang violence. The federal judge held that the government was in violation of key provisions of the Flores v. Meese settlement agreement which sets forth specific requirements regarding the housing of immigrant children. Pursuant to the Court’s ruling, the federal government has until August 3to explain why the release cannot occur within 90 days.
Under the Flores v. Meese settlement agreement, a juvenile immigrant cannot be detained for more than 72 hours.
“Friday’s ruling by Judge Gee does the right thing for countless numbers of Latino families seeking a better life for their children,” said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. “LULAC hopes that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency will comply with the order in a swift manner and release these immigrant children and parents without further delay.”
Over 1,700 children and mothers are being held in two facilities located in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. The judge also specifically held that the detention facilities were “deplorable” and that federal officials “failed to meet even the minimal standard of safety.”
This recent action again reminds us of the desperate need for comprehensive immigration reform. It is a need that the American people clearly recognize. In the last election, polls showed that over 81 percent of Americans want Congress to address immigration reform. Other polls showed that at least 57 percent of Americans thought there should be a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. LULAC renews its call for Congress to take concrete steps towards comprehensive immigration reform.