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Martin Macias Jr., CNS, Apr. 24, 2020
"A federal judge in Los Angeles said Friday the risk of Covid-19 spreading in immigrant detention facilities requires the government to adhere to a longstanding settlement requiring prompt release of immigrant youth from custody. The landmark 1997 Flores settlement sets national standards for the detention, release and treatment of all immigrant children in federal custody, such as requiring their release to guardians or placement in facilities within 5 to 20 days of detention. Youths who have sponsors should be released to them without unnecessary delay, unless they’re deemed flight risks, or released to state-licensed care facilities, according to the settlement. ... In a verbal order during a telephonic hearing Friday and issued in writing later in the day, Gee said she would convert the preliminary injunction motion into a motion to enforce the Flores settlement, specifically provisions governing safe and sanitary conditions of facilities and prompt release of children to their sponsors. ... Under Gee’s Friday order, ORR must release class members who have an immediate relative — or relatives through legal marriage — or other sponsor that can care for them, known as category 2B and 3 sponsors. For immigrant children in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, Gee ordered all class members be released to guardians in every category of relatives or sponsor."