(U.S.) – The severity of the coronovirus pandemic is the cited reason, but who made the call to release migrant children from all three of the country’s family detention centers?
The order came from a federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday and calls for the release of the children by July 17th. The decision came after plaintiffs in a case that has been on the table for quite some time, reported some of them have tested positive for COVID-19. The order apply to children who have been held for more than 20 days in detention centers operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Two are in Texas and there is one in Pennsylvania.
The decision by Judge Dolly M. Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California will impact the 124 children living int he facilities as of June 8th and potentially more. Gee noted, “the family residential centers are on fire and there is no more time for half measures.”
Gee also indicated that because of the ongoing health pandemic, ICE should work to release the children with “all deliberate speed,” either with their parents or to suitable guardians with the consent of their parents. The move marks the first time a court has announced a strict deadline for the release of children in family detention so long as their parents designated a relative in the U.S. to take custody.
Reports indicate approximately 2,500 immigrants in ICE detention have tested positive for the coronavirus.