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US judge to order release of immigrant women and children from holding facilities

Last Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported on a key ruling by a U.S. federal judge who in coming days plans to order the release of hundreds of immigrant women and children from holding facilities in the United States. Most of those immigrants originated from Latin American countries.

The judge gave officials until Aug. 3 to respond as to why those immigrants should not be released within 90 days of that pending order.

According to the Times, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee’s 25-page ruling strongly criticized U.S. officials for their draconian immigration policy on women and children, noting that many children have been held in “substandard conditions” at two Texas detention centers. The ruling also highlighted “widespread and deplorable conditions” at Border Patrol stations.

Some 1,700 parents and children are being held in three detentions centers in Texas and Pennsylvania, the newspaper noted.

The Times wrote:

The judge signaled that she planned to enter a nationwide injunction requiring Department of Homeland Security to come into compliance with a 1997 settlement—better known as Flores— that set specific legal requirements for the housing of immigrant children.

The increased holding of immigrant parents and their children in U.S. detention facilities pending deportation was one measure introduced following a wave of child migrants to the United States last year. By September 2014, some 68,000 unaccompanied minors had arrived at the U.S.’ southern border. Most were from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, an area of Central America known as the “Northern Triangle.”

Read: For Central America’s migrant women, life can change in a second

The L.A. Times reported that both Texas facilities are run by private companies contracted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

According to Flores, the nearly 20-year-old settlement cited by Judge Gee, the U.S. cannot detain a juvenile migrant for more than three days, and children must be released to parents or guardians.

Read the entire Times story here

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