A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to stop detaining unaccompanied immigrant children in hotels.
That allows for expelling them without the chance to seek refuge in the United States, a new policy the government has enacted during the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ruled Friday the use of hotels violates a two-decade-old settlement governing the treatment of immigrant children in custody. She ordered border agencies to stop placing children in hotels by Sept. 15 and to remove children from hotels as soon as possible.
At least 577 unaccompanied children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border since March have been held in hotels, sometimes for weeks, according to government data.
That’s instead of sending them to shelters operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, where minors receive legal services, education, and the chance to be placed with relatives living in the U.S. Those facilities are licensed by the states where they are located.
More than 13,000 beds in HHS facilities are currently empty.