Judge Orders Administration To End Detention of Women and Children

Illustration for article titled Judge Orders Administration To End Detention of Women and Children

Since last summer, Homeland Security has been routinely holding women and children in detention centers across Texas and New Mexico. Under pressure from border states, the Obama administration made the decision in order to stave off the large influx of undocumented workers. But the policy has been applied broadly, without regard to the individual circumstances that brought families to the border.

According the the New York Times:

The women and children were detained even after they had asked for asylum and passed the initial test to prove their cases, showing they had credible fears of facing persecution if they were sent home. Their petitions for release were routinely denied.


The America Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit to end the policy and, on Friday, federal Judge James E. Boasberg, ordered the administration to end the detentions .

The Times reports:

[The judge] ordered immigration authorities to consider each asylum case to determine if the migrants would present risks to public safety if they were released while their cases moved through the courts. Many of the women said they were fleeing severe criminal violence at home.

The authorities "will have to look at individual cases rather than making these broad stroke determinations that moms and children should be deprived of their liberty in order to discourage future migrants from coming to the U.S. border," said Denise Gilman, a University of Texas law professor who helped bring the lawsuit.

There are currently over 1,000 women and children held in detention centers.

Image via Getty.

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I'm a law student and just came back from Dilley, Texas, where I was one of the first pro bono legal representatives for the women and children detained there. If you are as outraged as we are, please consider helping out our newly formed non-profit, which will help these women post bond: http://www.gofundme.com/bond4refugees. We are thrilled with this ruling but I bet that this will be unsettled for some time, given the pending appeal. In the meantime, most of the women are only being released on crazy high bonds, which they have no chance of being able to pay. The biggest issue that people should be aware of is the lack of access to counsel. Syracuse just put out a study that showed the vast difference in outcomes for these women, depending on whether they have representation. Without being bonded out, the women have virtually no shot of finding a lawyer for their asylum application (which has typically been put on an expedited schedule — the administration is trying to deport women with children at a faster rate than anyone else, something we like to call the "mommy tax"), which means they are almost certain to be deported, back to where they likely experienced the worst kinds of abuse and threats you can possibly imagine— I will spare you the details.