Federal Judge Orders Release of Migrant Children Held in U.S. Detention Centers
The order says the government must release the children by mid-July.
On Friday, Judge Dolly M. Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled on the way the Trump administration has handled CDC recommendations for dealing with the spread of coronavirus in detention centers. "The family residential centers are on fire and there is no more time for half measures," she wrote in her decision.
The ruling says that the government must release the children in three U.S. detention centers, located in Texas and Pennsylvania, by July 17, and applies to children who have been held for more than 20 days.
Per the ruling, there were 124 children living in those facilities on June 8. The order came after reports that children in the facilities had tested positive for coronavirus. Judge Gee wrote that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement must work to release the children with “all deliberate speed,” either along with their parents or to suitable guardians with the consent of their parents.
The ruling marks the first time that an actual deadline has been set for release of minors in custody; previous rulings had only required a "prompt" release. So far, 11 children and parents at the detention center in Karnes City, Texas have tested positive for COVID-19, while others at the center in Dilley, Texas are still awaiting results.