Federal judge won’t allow Trump to expand family detention

A federal judge today blocked a Trump administration regulation that would allow families to be detained for lengthy periods of time.

Los Angeles-based U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ruled that the regulation— set to take effect Oct. 22 — violated the terms of the so-called Flores settlement agreement, according to Peter Schey, an attorney representing plaintiffs in a related lawsuit.

Schey said it was “obvious” the new Trump detention regulations would not fulfill the terms of the 1997 settlement settlement, which currently governs the standards for the detention of migrant children.

“President Trump would fire the whole team of lawyers at DHS if they came up with regulations that were consistent with the settlement,” Schey said. “He wants to detain children indefinitely.”

Gee gave the ruling from the bench today and is expected to issue a written decision in the coming days. The parties agreed to meet and determine whether parts of the regulation not covered by the settlement agreement could go into effect, according to Schey.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gee ruled in 2015 that restrictions on the detention of unaccompanied children in the settlement agreement also applied to children with parents. Since then, family detention has been limited to 20 days although the Trump administration seeks to remove that cap.

The court setback means the administration will continue to be bound by the 20-day limit on family detention.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said this week that immigration authorities would stop releasing most migrant families caught at the border into the interior of the U.S. Instead, he said the families would be processed for rapid removal or sent to Mexico if they have requested asylum.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine


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