US court decides on migrant children in detention centres

A court in Los Angeles, the United States, has ordered the release of several children with their parents in US family immigration detention due to the risk that they could catch Covid-19. In the last months, the Covid-19 has spread rapidly through immigration detention centres in the country. On June 25, Customs Enforcement reported that 11 detainees at a South Texas family detention centre, including children and parents, have tested positive for Covid-19, according to AP. 

The order refers to 124 children that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has in three of its centres in Texas and Pennsylvania. The judge, Dolly M. Gee, said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) currently held in detention.

The judge set a deadline of July 17 for children to be released or sent to family sponsors. It is the first time that a court sets a deadline for the release of children in family detention, according to the New York Times. Tthe orders usually only require their “prompt” release. 

The court based its decision in the compliance with the Flores settlement agreement, signed in 1997, aiming to protect migrant children who arrived at the US unaccompanied. In 2015, it was extended to children travelling with their families. The Trump administration tried to terminate the agreement in 2019.