‘Flores’ Judge Cites Coronavirus to Expand UAC Migrant Pipeline

Immigrant children play outside a former Job Corps site that now houses them, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Homestead, Fla. It is not known if the children crossed the border as unaccompanied minors or were separated from family members. Wrenching scenes of migrant children being separated from their parents at …
AP File Photo: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

The judge who opened the huge “Flores loophole” in border law is now pressuring federal officials to release more migrant children and youths from the government centers where they are temporarily held.

The migrant youths and children are being held while officials at the Department of Health and Human Services verify the bona fides of the people who volunteer to “sponsor” as the young migrants try to win green cards. In reality, officials and legislators have freely admitted that they know most of the would-be sponsors are the Central American illegal immigrant parents who paid smugglers to bring their children to the border agencies.

The youths and children claim to be unaccompanied minors, so they can be transported to their parents via the “Unaccompanied Alien Children” migrant route, which was created by a 2008 law.

Judge Dolly Gee argued March 28 that the coronavirus danger requires officials to quickly release the smuggled youths and children from the government centers:

Medical experts fear the exceptionally rapid transmission of COVID-19 in detention facilities … Accordingly, experts recommend reducing the size of the population within detention facilities to permit children to be in the custody of family sponsors or to be released with their families and thereby lessen the resource constraints and likelihood of overwhelming contagion in the less-crowded facilities.

Defendants are hereby ORDERED to SHOW CAUSE by April 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. continuous efforts to release class members; (2) enjoining Defendants from keeping minors who have suitable custodians …  and (3) enjoining Defendants from keeping minors who have suitable custodians in congregate custody due to ICE’s unexplained failure to release these minors within 20 days.

Gee was nominated to her judge’s seat by former President Barack Obama. She is the daughter of two Chinese immigrants.

The vast majority of UAC sponsors are Central American illegal immigrant parents in the United States. Many flooded into the United States during the last few years after Gee expanded the Flores loophole in 2015.

The Flores loophole forces border officials to release migrants within 21 days of their arrival — if they bring children.

After Gee created the loophole, the coyotes advised economic migrants to bring their children so they could get “catch and release” treatment at the border. In 2019, that policy by the white-collar judge helped funnel 900,000 migrants into Americans’ blue-collar workplaces, neighborhoods, and schools.

However, the Department of Justice is expected to appeal Gee’s latest move to open up the borders.

“We can’t afford to let the fear of the coronavirus spreading end the rule of law in our country,” said a March 29 op-ed by Tom Homan, a former head of the Immigraiton and Customs Enforcement agency. he continued:

As the president well knows, if we do not have the ability to detain those who illegally enter our nation until they see a judge and plead their cases, or remove those who have been ordered removed by a federal judge, we will never solve the immigration crisis on the border.

Critics of ICE have made wild and false claims about how the agency’s detention facilities operate, in an effort to convince the American people that no illegal immigrant should be detained.

Border officials are also trying to block the UAC pipeline by returning migrant youths and children to Mexico without letting them into the United States. Buzzfeed News reported March 30:

On Monday, a US Customs and Border Protection official confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the agency was now applying the CDC order to children.

“All aliens CBP encounters may be subject to the CDC’s Order Suspending Introduction Of Persons From A Country Where A Communicable Disease Exists (March 20, 2020), including minors,” read a statement from CBP. “When minors are encountered without adult family members, CBP works closely with their home countries to transfer them to the custody of government officials and reunite them with their families quickly and safely, if possible.”

The statement noted that there is discretion for the agency to exclude certain unaccompanied children from the order if, for example, they show signs of illness.

Government data obtained by BuzzFeed News indicates that current referrals of unaccompanied children from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the US refugee agency are especially low. On Sunday, just four unaccompanied minors were referred to ORR shelters. DHS averaged 14 referrals a day over the past week, a drop of 78% from the previous month.

More than 350,000 migrant youths and children have been smuggled into the United States via the UAC pipeline since 2011. Few have been denied asylum and been sent home.

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