Judge orders immigrant families released from detention

Leave it to California. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee has ordered the federal government to release any minors among illegal immigrants currently in detention, along with their mothers whenever possible, and to do so quickly. What could possibly go wrong? (ABC News)

A federal judge in California has ordered the government to release immigrant children from family detention centers “without unnecessary delay,” and with their mothers when possible, according to court papers.

In a filing late Friday, California U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee refused the government’s request to reconsider her ruling in late July that children held in family detention centers after crossing the US-Mexico border illegally must be released rapidly.

Calling the government’s latest arguments “repackaged and reheated,” she found the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in breach of a longstanding legal agreement stipulating that immigrant children cannot be held in unlicensed secured facilities, and gave agency officials until October 23 to comply.

So these are the only two choices we have available to us? Indefinite retention in increasingly segregated detention facilities or release them into the public? The 1997 agreement which the judge is referencing mandates that illegal minors be “placed with a relative” or – worse – be set up in an “appropriate non-secure custody” facility within five days. Particularly when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of minors being streamed across the border at the urging of the cartels, how are we supposed to manage that? Previous comments from some agents on the border, as well as immigration judges who have to handle these cases, indicate that we frequently can’t find a family member – legal or illegal – to place them with. And let’s say that you do… what then? If we’re placing unaccompanied illegals with adult illegals, that might be the best short term situation for the child, but now we’ve simply swelled the ranks of illegal immigrants who disappear into the community. (And let’s face it… most of them aren’t going to show up for a hearing a few months later and we don’t have the manpower to chase down bench warrants for them all.)

Some of the concerns of the judge are clearly valid. You can’t simply take unaccompanied children and dump them into an unsupervised situation with a bunch of adult border jumpers. That’s a recipe for disaster. But we’ve already set up facilities for women and children only. The problem seems to be the “non-secure facility” caveat referenced above. The judge doesn’t want them being kept in a facility run by a private prison corporation.

The centers in Karnes City and Dilley, both south of San Antonio, recently held more than 1,300 women and children combined. A third, smaller facility located in Berks County, Pennsylvania, held about 70 people. All three are overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but the two centers in Texas are run by private prison operators.

Just because a facility is operated by private prison operators doesn’t make it a prison. But in some sense it’s still a jail because the people involved are breaking the law.

We have the ability to at least return the Mexican nationals over the border. I’m not trying to go all Trumptastic on the crowd here, but doesn’t the Mexican government bear some responsibility for their own children when they cross the border? If we don’t have the ability to simply turn them over to Mexican authorities and let them deal with them then something is seriously wrong with this situation and we need to be negotiating a better deal.

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on February 04, 2023