Judge Wants Monitor for Detained Immigrant Kids

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LOS ANGELES (CN) – A federal judge in Los Angeles said Friday that consistent problems at facilities housing undocumented children require an independent monitor to review potential violations of a settlement that sets standards for their detention.

U.S District Judge Dolly Gee said she intends to appoint a special monitor to give “impartial and unbiased” reports on conditions at facilities operated by both U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S Customs and Border Protection agencies, respectively.

The Flores settlement – which the Trump administration sought to roll back in a request last month to hold immigrant children for longer periods – set national standards for the detention, release and treatment of all undocumented children in federal custody.

The Justice Department asked Judge Gee to modify the settlement, arguing it limits limited their ability to both execute President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance executive order and reunite children with parents in detention while awaiting legal proceedings.

Gee denied the federal government’s efforts to dismantle key provisions of agreement July 9, saying it was “procedurally improper and wholly without merit.”

She also called the government’s claim that the Flores settlement caused a spike in border crossings is “unconvincing.”

“Any number of other factors could have caused the increase in illegal border crossings, including civil strife, economic degradation, and fear of death in the migrants’ home countries,” Gee wrote.

Peter Schey and Carlos Holguin, attorneys with the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, appeared on behalf of a class of detained undocumented children on Friday and said they’ve encountered hundreds of potential violations of the Flores settlement during interviews with children.

Schey said children have complained about unsanitary conditions and of being detained for extended periods without clear explanations of their rights.

“I can’t be at all those places,” Gee said, referring to facilities where attorneys for detained children have pointed out problems. “I’ll need an independent monitor to give an objective viewpoint.”

Schey said he would agree to a special monitor but asked that the search be completed promptly, to which Gee replied that it would take “two weeks at the most.”

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