A U.S. federal judge on Monday rejected the Trump administration’s request to allow long-term detention of illegal immigrant children, a legal setback for President Donald Trump’s push to detain immigrant families taken into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Los Angeles U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee dismissed as “dubious” and “unconvincing” the U.S. Justice Department’s proposal to modify a 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement, which says that children cannot be held in detention for long periods.
The government made its request in June after public outcry over its policy of separating children from parents who entered the United States illegally. A judge in a different case in San Diego ordered the government last month to reunite the families it had separated.
The government asserted in its Flores filing that the San Diego ruling would necessitate longer-term detention of children, since that would be the only way to both reunite them with their parents and keep the parents incarcerated during their immigration proceedings.
Gee rejected that argument.
“Defendants advance a tortured interpretation of the Flores Agreement in an attempt to show that the … injunction permits them to suspend the Flores release and licensure provisions,” she wrote.