Immigration Law

"Why Detain at All?"

Miriam Jordan, New York Times, June 29, 2019

"A federal judge has ordered a mediator to move swiftly to improve health and sanitation at Border Patrol facilities in Texas, where observers reported migrant children were subject to filthy conditions that imperiled their health.

Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California asked late on Friday that an independent monitor, whom she appointed last year, ensure that conditions in detention centers are promptly addressed. She set a deadline of July 12 for the government to report on what it has accomplished “post haste” to remedy them.

“We are hoping we can act expeditiously to resolve the conditions for children in Border Patrol custody,” said Holly Cooper, part of a team of lawyers who asked the federal court to intervene.

... Lawyers for the government were not immediately available for comment, but Dan Kowalski, an immigration lawyer in Colorado who is editor of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, a journal for advocates and academics, said the court case was a significant step in alleviating harmful conditions for migrant children on the border.

“Improving conditions is essential and overdue,” he said. “The larger question is why detain at all? Detention does not deter migration, and only causes needless suffering.” "