We promised to keep you updated on the issue of family detention as the situation evolves and today we have exciting news to share!
As we reported last week, on July 10th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took a significant step in the right direction when it began releasing vulnerable families who presented a credible case that they fled their home country out of fear for their lives. Just this past Friday, July 24th, Federal District Court Judge Dolly Gee ruledthat current U.S. family detention policies violate the law. Specifically, Judge Gee ruled that detaining mothers and children in secure, unlicensed detention facilities or holding them in deplorable conditions in Border Patrol facilities is not permitted under the 1997 Flores settlement agreement about the treatment of children in government custody.
While we applaud the Judge’s decision, the fight is not over yet.There are further procedural steps before this decision will be truly final. The government has until August 3rd to respond to the actions ordered by Judge Gee and explain why those remedies should not be implemented within 90 days of the ruling. The government will also be weighing whether to appeal the decision to a higher court.
It is LIRS’s position that DHS should immediately end the inhumane practice of family detention and release children together with their parents. We implore the government to refrain from appealing the ruling and to begin releasing women and children safely and without undue restrictions on their liberty, such as requiring the use of ankle-monitoring devices.
We thank you for walking alongside migrants and refugees, including the hundreds of vulnerable women and children who remain behind locked gates and fences in Texas and Pennsylvania today. It is our hope that you rejoice and find inspiration in this tremendous moral victory. It will serve as a beacon of light and hope for those families who are currently detained and will soon be released, and for those like you who pray for their freedom and healing.
As the doors of the detention facilities slowly swing open, we will share more information about how you can assist released families. We will be in touch about continuing to advocate to ensure a timely and safe end to family detention in the days ahead.