On Monday, July 9th a federal Judge ruled that the Trump administration could not allow for long-term holding of migrant families. Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles ruled that there was no basis to amend a previous consent decree that requires immigrant children to be released to licensed care programs within 20 days of being detained.

The Trump administration had said that holding immigrants in long-term confinement was the only option to avoid separating families when migrant parents were detained on criminal charges.

Judge Gee ruled that the administration’s attempt to modify a previous decree from the longstanding 1997 Flores agreement was “a cynical attempt” to alter immigration policy following “over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered executive action.”

This news comes after federal authorities were preparing to return 54 young migrants to their parents as a result of winding down the administration’s family separation program. These 54 child migrants, a little more than half of the youngest group of migrants being held, will be reunited with their parents through the oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.

Monday’s news firmly rules out detaining parents and children for lengthy periods, the only alternative for the government to confine young migrants for a longer period outside of separation. Last month’s news of holding children in separate facilities lead to widespread criticism from the public and immigrant advocacy groups, which lead to a reversal of policy following a federal ruling in San Diego.

The Justice Department announced shortly after that it would review Judge Gee’s ruling, stating “we disagree with the court’s ruling declining to amend the Flores Agreement to recognize the current crisis of families making the unlawful journey across our southern border.

As of Tuesday most immigrant parents have been moved to detention centers in close proximity of where their children are being held.

D’Alessio Law Group is closely monitoring this news and will provide updates as they become available. For any questions on this matter please reach out to your designated D’Alessio Law Group professional.

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