U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of California recently issued an order that requires “all children currently held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for more than 20 days be released by July 17” [Source: NPR]. The order comes after Gee says the Trump administration “failed to provide even the most basic health protections for children and their families amid the pandemic.” Gee also stated the ICE-operated facilities that are affected by the order are “on fire” and that “there is no more time for half measures” to be implemented.
Gee’s order shall apply to three family detention facilities in the U.S., two of which are located in Texas and the third in Pennsylvania. NPR reports that as of Thursday, at least 11 people at the family detention center in Karnes City, Texas have tested positive for COVID-19. About 90 miles away in Dilly, four employees at another facility have also tested positive for coronavirus. The source says test results for the residents there are still pending.
At the beginning of June, NPR cited that court documents revealed that there were at least 124 children in the Family Residential Centers and 507 in the Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters.
Will the detained children be released with their parents?
That’s what many are hoping for.
The source says that “until now, ICE has been reluctant to release children held in family detention centers because in order to do it in a humane way, they have to release the child with a parent.” Rather than do that, “Holly Cooper, who is the co-director of the University of California, Davis Immigration Law Clinic says the Trump administration has given immigrant families a choice: they can either stay together in a detention center or allow the child to be transferred to a sponsor or family member somewhere else in the U.S.
Cooper says ICE “makes a real horrible guardian of children… and so far, ICE has opted to keep children detained…during a global pandemic.” However, because the conditions in these facilities have been described as “horrific” coupled with the COVID-19 cases climbing, Gee issued the order with the hopes that both children and parents will be released together.
Do you know someone who is currently being held in an ICE detention center in Texas?
To learn more about what can be done to get them released, contact the Texas immigration lawyers at the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen. If there is anything that can be done to speed up their release date or prevent them from being placed in deportation proceedings, the Texas immigration lawyers at this firm will be able to identify it.
You can reach the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen at:
310 South St. Mary’s Street, Suite 2100
San Antonio, Texas 78205