An appeals court has blocked a ruling that would have required the federal government to give bail hearings to children and teenagers accused of being in the U.S. illegally.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order Friday granting the Trump administration’s request for an emergency stay of a district court judge’s decision that bail hearings for unaccompanied immigrant minors are required under the terms of a 1997 settlement.
The Justice Department argued that conducting such hearings in immigration court would be burdensome and might well be fruitless since a 2008 law sets procedures for the release of children and teens in immigration custody.
Lawyers for the children said it was unfair that minors were not entitled to the same immigration court hearings routinely given to adults. Indeed, such hearings are given after the minors turn 18.
The appeals judges appeared to accept the government’s claim that the decision to require hearings could create problems for federal agencies. However, the court did not indicate that the feds were likely to prevail in the end.
“We do not suggest a conclusion as to the merits of the appeal. Given a sufficient showing of irreparable harm, a stay is appropriate when an appeal presents ‘serious legal questions,'” Judges William Canby Jr., Richard Clifton and Michelle Friedland said in a joint order.
The same panel of appeals judges who granted the stay to the Trump administration in the case about immigrant kids denied the government a stay earlier this month in the much higher profile case involving President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order.
A lawyer for the immigrant children, Holly Cooper, declined to comment on the 9th Circuit’s action Friday.
Canby is an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, Clifton was appointed by President George W. Bush, and Friedland by President Barack Obama.
The order requiring the bail hearings was issued last month by Los Angeles-based U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee, an Obama appointee.