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Immigration Law

Are Feds Stalling Detention Deal to Keep Refugee Moms, Kids Behind Bars?

"Secret talks over the fate of the Obama administration’s family detention program may be breaking down, meaning many migrant mothers and children could remain locked up for the foreseeable future.  A critical opinion by a federal judge – that the family detention centers are illegal – remains in the dark and unofficial. But without a deal between the government and migrant advocates, lawyers for many other mothers can’t use that opinion to help get their clients freed on bail. ... Bryan Johnson signed a confidentiality agreement.  But the New York immigration lawyer, retained as a legal consultant for negotiators locked in high-level talks with Department of Justice officials over the fate of the Obama administration’s family detention program, now risks being found in contempt for violating a federal judge’s order after he released her tentative ruling against the government.  U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee’s April 24 tentative ruling, which has been kept secret for months, is a scathing rebuke of the Obama administration’s decision to significantly increase its use of family detention in response to a surge of mothers and children fleeing poverty and violence in Central America.  Johnson said the reason he’s releasing the draft ruling is because he feels ethically obligated to defend his clients’ rights under the law. McClatchy published the ruling Thursday. The ruling was not binding, he said, but it was very clear in what the judge believes is the interpretation of the law." - Franco Ordoñez, June 11, 2015.