On August 21, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered the Obama administration to release migrant mothers and their children from detention centers beginning October 24.
The detention facilities, run by ICE, are used to hold migrant mothers and their children while their health status and other eligibility matters are reviewed prior to pursuing citizenship.
In July, Gee ruled against the administration’s extended use of such facilities, saying “The government acted in violation of a 1997 settlement regarding child migrants.” The Obama administration put forth a “last minute plea” hoping Gee would reconsider that ruling prior to handing one down Friday, but she rejected the plea.
According to The Sacramento Bee, Gee said, “Defendants submitted a 51-page brief that served primarily as a vehicle for a thinly-veiled motion for reconsideration, rehashing many of the same arguments which the Court previously rejected.”
As things now stand, migrant mothers and children currently in holding must be released “as quickly as possible” beginning October 24. Thereafter, the administration may only hold mothers and daughters for five days, unless there are “extenuating” circumstances–as when “70,000 Central American families” flooded into America in 2014 and overwhelmed the system. Under such circumstances the government may hold mothers and children for 20 days instead of five.
The option of a 20-day detention is the only quasi-concession the administration received from Judge Gee.
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