A federal judge has given the Trump administration until Sept. 28 to stop the practice of holding immigrant children in hotels for prolonged periods under a secretive policy that rapidly expels undocumented immigrants who arrive at the border amid the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee denied on Monday the Trump administration’s request to put on hold her original Sept. 4 order to end the practice while an appeal is pending.
The Trump administration has been holding hundreds, and possibly thousands, of immigrant children in hotels in Phoenix and several other cities under emergency pandemic measures implemented in March to quickly expel undocumented immigrants, including children. In the past, immigrant children were transferred to state-licensed supervised shelters and provided a chance to apply for asylum.
Gee ruled Sept. 4 that the government’s detention of children longer than 72 hours violated the decades-old Flores settlement that governs the treatment of immigrant children in custody. She had ordered the Trump administration to stop holding immigrant children in hotels as part of the policy by Sept. 15, with limited exceptions, but the practice has continued while the Trump administration sought stays pending an appeal.
A review of federal court records by The Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network, shows that a total of 660 immigrant children were held at 26 hotels between April 18 and July 31 as part of a Trump administration policy to expel undocumented immigrants rapidly. The hotels were located in Phoenix; in El Paso, McAllen, Pharr, Houston and San Antonio, Texas; and in Alexandria, Louisiana, court records show.
Of the 660, 577 of the children were minors not accompanied by parents.
The data was included in court records filed by the National Center for Youth Law and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, plaintiffs in the Flores settlement case, based on data provided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
By Daniel Gonzalez for azcentral.
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