Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Judge’s Rebuke of Immigration Detention

Editorial, New York Times
August 5, 2015

Children do not belong in prison. The mass detention of families offends American values, a lesson this country learned long ago at Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain and the other Japanese-American internment camps of World War II.

Learned, but apparently forgotten by the Obama administration, which has just been ordered by a federal judge to release several hundred women and children locked up in its immigration detention centers in southern Texas. The centers, in Dilley and Karnes City, were thrown up hastily last year to contain a surge of families and unaccompanied children from Central America, many desperately seeking refuge from gang and drug and political violence at home.

In a sharply critical ruling on July 24, Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles found that the administration was violating a 1997 court settlement of a lawsuit involving the care and treatment of children in immigration detention. That settlement, Flores v. Reno, requires the government to hold children in the least-restrictive settings appropriate to their ages and needs, in places licensed to care for children, and to release them without needless delay to their parents or other adult relatives whenever possible.[...]

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