Judge rules government must release illegal alien children
A federal judge in Los Angeles has ordered the government to release hundreds of illegal alien children from detention centers, confirming a ruling last month that said the administration was violating a settlement from 1997 regarding the status of illegal alien minors.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles gave the administration of President Barack Obama until Oct. 23 to comply with her order to release hundreds of unauthorized immigrant children, and in some cases their mothers, "without unnecessary delay."
Gee's ruling comes amid debate by U.S. presidential candidates over illegal immigration and follows an influx of immigrants from Central America across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Last year, more than 68,000 children traveling without a parent entered the country. The federal government has held unaccompanied children, or children caught with a parent, in special facilities.
The federal government has also taken steps to release unaccompanied immigrant children from border detention centers, often to a family member living in the United States.
Last month, Gee ruled the Department of Homeland Security was keeping children at detention centers in violation of a 1997 class-action settlement that said juveniles under the age of 18 cannot be held for more than 72 hours.
If a parent was caught with his or her child, authorities could justify keeping the adult in custody if the person is a "significant flight risk" or poses a safety concern, the ruling said.
The ruling was seen as a defeat for U.S. immigration authorities, who in court filings argued releasing undocumented immigrant children encourages families in Central America to undertake the dangerous journey north.
U.S. officials are holding 1,400 parents and children at three centers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
So, your honor, where do these kids go? No doubt, open borders charities will take the most vulnerable, but it is hard to see how all of them can be accommodated. The government has been searching for relatives of these kids – already here illegally – to take them in. But it's a long, laborious process, hence the necessity of keeping them in detention.
Ideally, there would be an immigration judge who would rule for their deportation, but the backlog of cases in immigration courts has reached a period of years, and there's about as much chance any of these kids will see their home country again as they will see the inside of Donald Trump's mansion.
Whoever gets elected president in 2016 is going to have to deal with a completely broken immigration system as well as an almost nonexistent border security regimen. As long as judges keep ruling like this one, it may be easier than we can currently imagine.