The ruling applies to children held in the nation’s three family detention centers for more than 20 days. They must be let go by July 17, a federal judge ruled on Friday.
“Citing the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday ordered the imminent release of migrant children held in the country’s three family detention centers.
The order to release the children by July 17 came after plaintiffs in a long-running case reported that some of them have tested positive for the virus. It applies to children who have been held for more than 20 days in the detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania.
There were 124 children living in those facilities on June 8, according to the ruling.
In her order, Judge Dolly M. Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California criticized the Trump administration for its spotty compliance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To prevent the virus from spreading in congregate detention facilities, the agency had recommended social distancing, the wearing of masks and early medical intervention for those with virus symptoms.
“The family residential centers are on fire and there is no more time for half measures,” she wrote.”