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CHR, Jan. 20, 2017 - "The Center for Human Rights, U.C. Davis Law School Legal Clinic, and the Youth Law Center today won a class-wide order compelling the Office of Refugee Resettlement of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (ORR) to allow children whom it refuses to release bond redetermination hearings before the Executive Office of Immigration Review. The Flores settlement provides that juveniles denied release must be afforded bond hearings unless the affirmatively decline one. ORR contended that the the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, 110 Pub. L. 457, 122 Stat. 5044, codified in pertinent part at 8 U.S.C. § 1232 (“TVPRA”) voids the bond hearing requirement.
Plaintiffs countered that the TVPRA's raison d'être is to confer greater protection on unaccompanied children, not expose them to peremptory detention. Plaintiffs also presented evidence that ORR's Kafkaesque detention decisions are causing traumatized youth irreparable harm, including, for example, by leading them to believe they will soon be release to parents or other qualified custodians, only to keep them detained for months or years without affording an opportunity to see or rebut any evidence ORR believes justifies their continued detention. Some youth have languished as long as two years in juvenile halls on the untested ground that they are flight-risks or dangerous, only to be release within days after turning 18, being transferred to adult detention facilities, and finally be afforded bond redeterminations. Click here to see the court's enforcement order. "