Federal Judge Orders Release of Migrant Children Due to Coronavirus

AP File Photo/Eric Gay

A U.S District Court judge in the Central District of California ordered the federal government to release migrant children being held in detention for more than 20 days. The order calls for the children to be released by July 17 due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee, appointed to the Central District of California by President Barack Obama in 2009, ruled on Friday that the federal government cannot hold children in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities for more than 20 days, NBC News reported. Judge Gee cited concerns over the danger posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The judge gave ICE officials until July 17 to release the children to “non-congregate settings.” Those settings include “suitable sponsors” or the parents of the children. The judge said parents should also be released if conditions warrant their release.

The judge, from her court in California, cited that ICE is unevenly implementing written protocols. She cited COVID-19 infected employees at a Texas facility, and 11 infected detainees at a family detention center in Kansas.

“The matter is now in the hands of ICE, which had 124 children at those facilities in Texas and Pennsylvania as of June 8, the ruling said,” according to NBC News. “The ruling applies only to children, it does not compel ICE to release parents.”

NBC News reported a survey in May that gave parents in detention the choice of having their children released or having them held with the parents in detention centers. NBC said 100 percent of the 366 families surveyed said they would prefer to have their children kept in detention with them.

The judge’s order does not mandate the release of parents and only applies to the children. The impact of the order will force the federal government to separate the children from their parents.

The White House responded calling Judge Gee part of a group of “activist judges,” NBC stated.

“For two and a half years, this Administration has worked to restore faithful enforcement of the laws enacted by Congress, while activist judges have imposed their own vision in the place of those duly enacted laws,” a statement from the White House press secretary reported by NBC said.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.