LA Flores TRO Hearing (At 5 PM EDT) Today: For “Seven Day” Order — Releasing Minors In ICE Custody To Families Or Sponsors

More, of the ACLU’s ongoing heroism, in vindicating human rights — in the face of Trump’s lawless opposition.

Do read the full 33 pages — but here’s a bit — detailing health risk abuses in the time of COVID-19:

. . . .The spread of COVID-19 into Defendants’ facilities is not speculative. It has already infected ORR’s MercyFirst and Abbott House congregate facilities in New York and facilities housing ICE detainees. At least one child is now in quarantine awaiting test results in the ICE family detention center in Berks, Pennsylvania. Declaration of Bridget Cambria. The Agreement “sets out nationwide policy for the detention, release, and treatment of minors in the custody of the [Defendants] …” Agreement at ¶ 9. The certified class includes “[a]ll minors who are detained in the legal custody of the [Defendants].” Id. ¶ 10. It requires that Defendants “treats[ ] and shall continue to treat, all minors in its custody with dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors.” Id. ¶ 11.5 It requires that except for class members who are flight risks or a danger, class members shall be released without unnecessary delay to listed sponsors, id. ¶¶ 14 and 18, and if not promptly released, must “as expeditiously as possible,” id. ¶ 12.A.3, be transferred to a “non-secure” program licensed by a state for the care of dependent children. Id. ¶¶ 6 and 19, and Exhibit 1. The obvious ways to comply with the Agreement and protect class members’ safety are to (1) expedite children’s release to sponsors identified in Paragraph 14, and (2) not detain children in congregate unlicensed facilities where their risk of exposure to COVID-19 is high. . . .

Seven days should be more than enough for ORR to manage post-release risk. See e.g., Declaration of James Owens, Feb. 7, 2018, Exhibit K, ¶ 6 (state dependency courts determine cause to detain children within three days); Exhibit M (ORR Manual of Procedures, at § 2.2.2 (care providers generally expected to complete custodian evaluations within 10-21 days), § 2.7.2 (case coordinators expected to make recommendation within 1 business day), and § 2.7.3 (Federal Field Specialists expected to make release decisions within 1-2 business days of receiving case coordinator recommendations)). Class counsel recently secured the release of a class member in ORR custody to his undocumented father in about five days. Schey 3. Any marginal gains to that ORR may claim for child safety from their prolonged investigations of sponsors for more than 30 days cannot outweigh the harm congregate detention will inevitably cause to the health and safety of children in ORR and ICE custody. . . .

A preliminary review of data provided by Defendants to class counsel on a monthly basis shows that during February 2020 ICE detained about 3,359 class members in ICE family detention facilities. Schey ¶ 4. Of these class members it appears two (2) were apprehended in 2014. Id. Four (4) were apprehended in 2018 and have been detained for over fourteen months. Id. About ten (10) have been detained for about one year and another ten (10) have been detained for about eleven months. Id. About twenty-six (26) have been detained for about ten months, fifteen (15) for about nine (9) months, eleven (11) for about eight months, fifty-eight (58) for about seven (7) months, ninety six (96) for about six (6) months, two hundred and five (205) five (5) months, one hundred and fifty-one (151) for about four (4) months, two hundred and ninety-three (293) for three (3) months, and nine hundred and eighty (980) have been detained for two months. Id. In short, about 1,861 class members appear now in ICE custody have been detained for three months or longer with no efforts made by Defendants to release them under the terms of the Agreement. . . .

When the alternative is to leave children on the tracks with the COVID-19 train fast approaching, Defendants’ not releasing minors without unnecessary delay and ICE’s blatant violation of the Agreement and this Court’s Orders, are unconscionable. The temporary procedural relief Plaintiffs seek is a minimal step to protect children’s substantive rights under the Agreement and the Court’s prior Orders requiring the prompt release of minors who are neither a flight risk nor a danger. The children’s right to Defendants’ compliance with the Agreement they reached with Plaintiffs has now become critically important to avoid unnecessarily keeping children in congregate detention endangering their health and well-being during a global pandemic. . . . This Court should require Defendants to articulate good cause for exposing children to the clear dangers of congregate detention in lieu of release to their families or transfer to non-congregate settings. . . .

The papers also insist that ICE facilities provide for sanitary needs: soaps, baths and clean bedding mong other things. It is simply insane, that a court would have to tell our government this is. . . needed. I N S A N E.


There are no comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: