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Administration Loses Attempt to Hold Migrant Children Longer

Federal judge issues permanent injunction in Flores agreement case
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2019 4:45 PM CDT
A staff member works in the infirmary, a series of tents, at the US government's new holding center for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas, in July.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

(Newser) – The Trump administration has lost its effort to impose new rules that would let it detain migrant children with their parents indefinitely. After a hearing Friday in Los Angeles, the Washington Post reports, a federal judge issued a permanent injunction, preventing the administration from withdrawing from the Flores agreement. That consent decree, in place since 1997, limits the time that children can be held in detention centers that aren't licensed by the state to 20 days. District Judge Dolly Gee wrote in her opinion, per the AP, that officials "cannot simply ignore the dictates of the consent decree merely because they no longer agree with its approach as a matter of policy."

"The Flores agreement is a binding contract," Gee said, per CBS. "She did not hide her complete disregard for (the administration's) failed attempts to withdraw from this settlement," said the director of Immigration for the National Center for Youth Law. Calling the agreement outdated, a Justice Department spokesman said the administration met the requirements for the new regulations and was disappointed in the ruling. The administration could appeal, and Gee gave the two sides until Oct. 4 to negotiate on whether any of the new rules aren't governed by the Flores agreement. (The conditions for detained children have been a problem.)

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