Federal judge rules that two Texas family detention centers, where children are detained with their mothers, violate the law.
In a huge victory for opponents of family detention centers, a federal judge on Friday ruled that two centers opened last year in Texas—which hold over 2,000 undocumented mothers and children—violate a longstanding court settlement. The federal judge further rules that the families in them should be released as soon as possible.
Late on Friday afternoon, Judge Dolly M. Gee of Federal District Court for the Central District of California found that the two privately operated centers fail to meet minimum legal requirements of a 1997 settlement, including that undocumented children are not to be housed in prison-like settings.
Unitarian Universalists in Texas and elsewhere have been working with other social justice groups to close the detention centers. UUs have also been providing support to mothers and children in the centers.
Delegates at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly last month in Portland, Oregon, passed an Action of Immediate Witness opposing opposing the family detention centers.
After the ruling by Judge Gee, UU Service Committee President William F. Schulz said, “We urge the Obama administration not to appeal this decision, but to embrace it, to abide by it—and to immediately release all mothers and children now being held, so they can await their asylum hearings in compliance, yet in the safety and freedom they’ve been denied.”
See also our earlier coverage of the Texas family detention centers: Three mothers and many children to a room (5.8.15).
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Elaine McArdle is a UU World senior editor and a member of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon. An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she has also written for the Boston Globe, Harvard Law Bulletin, and others.
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