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Immigration Law

CA9 on Flores Settlement, Bond Hearings: Flores v. Sessions (July 5, 2017)

Flores v. Sessions - "On January 28, 1997, the district court approved a settlement between the plaintiff class and the federal government establishing a “nationwide policy for the detention, release, and treatment of minors in the custody of the INS.” Flores Settlement at ¶ 9. The “Flores Settlement” sets the minimum standards for the detention, housing, and release of non-citizen juveniles who are detained by the government, and obliges the government to pursue a “general policy favoring release” of such juveniles. Id. at ¶ 14. Pursuant to this goal, Paragraph 24A of the Settlement provides that a “minor in deportation proceedings shall be afforded a bond redetermination hearing before an immigration judge.” Id. at ¶ 24A. The question before us today is whether, in light of changes to the statutory law, this provision remains in effect in the case of unaccompanied minors. ...

Nothing in the text, structure, or purpose of the HSA or TVPRA renders continued compliance with Paragraph 24A, as it applies to unaccompanied minors, “impermissible.” See Flores v. Lynch, 828 F.3d at 910. Nor does anything in the two statutes turn the Flores Settlement or any part of it into an “instrument of wrong.” See Wright, 364 U.S. at 647. Not a single word in either statute indicates that Congress intended to supersede, terminate, or take away any right enjoyed by unaccompanied minors at the time of the acts’ passage. Thus, we hold that the statutes have not terminated the Flores Settlement’s bond-hearing requirement for unaccompanied minors.

We therefore affirm the decision of the district court granting plaintiffs’ motion to enforce Paragraph 24A of the Flores Settlement in its entirety."