New immigration ruling regarding family detention centers

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials were disappointed by the recent ruling of U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Flores v. Johnson. Judge Gee ruled that the government’s detention of approximately 2,000 immigrant mothers and children in “family detention centers” in Texas violates an earlier immigration case settlement (Flores v. Reno, 1997), which required that detainees under the age of 18 be held in the “least restrictive setting” available and be released from custody without delay. Judge Gee gave the government until August 3 to present any evidence they have showing why the detained children and their accompanying parents should not be released.

Dozier Miller Law is ready to use this recent ruling to represent families whose loved ones have been detained in these facilities by helping those detained prepare for their interviews with ICE and representing them in video court appearances regarding their release.

In her ruling, Judge Gee called the conditions in the detention centers “deplorable,” and others have reported on the grim conditions in which the women and children are held, especially at a detention center in south Texas operated as a for-profit business by Corrections Corporation of America. Reports of severe overcrowding, restricted meals, and lack of medical help have reached family members and others trying to help.

Other reports in affidavits filed with the court indicated that ICE officials persuaded women to accept ankle monitors in order to be released without providing legal counsel or translation of documentation to the women. Even those women and children who are released–some after paying large sums of money for bond and being required to wear ankle monitors–often do not understand the terms of their release and may have difficulty remaining in compliance. At Dozier Miller Law, we will fight on behalf of our clients to ensure that efforts and money already expended do not go to waste.

Although there are those who believe the government will meet its burden and show reasons for the continued use of family detention centers, it appears the ruling has already begun to have an effect in recent bond hearings as women and children are being released without the ankle monitors and bond requirements that were most often imposed prior to the Flores v. Johnson ruling.

Dozier Miller’s Immigration Counsel:

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