The White House on Friday night, Sept. 27, issued a statement criticizing the judge’s decision to block new Trump administration rules that would enable the government to keep immigrant children in detention facilities with their parents indefinitely.
“For two and a half years, this Administration has worked to restore faithful enforcement of the laws enacted by Congress, while activist judges have imposed their own vision in the place of those duly enacted laws,” the statement said. “The Flores 20-day Loophole violates congressional removal and detention mandates, creating a new system out of judicial whole cloth. This destructive end-run around the detention and removal system Congress created must end.”
Judge Dolly Gee, a California federal judge, ruled Friday to block the administration from terminating the Flores agreement, which the administration argues creates incentive for immigrants to illegally cross the border.
Gee said the Flores agreement will remain in place and govern the conditions for all immigrant children in U.S. custody, including those with their parents.
“The agreement has been necessary, relevant, and critical to the public interest in maintaining standards for the detention and release of minors arriving at the United States’ borders,” the judge wrote in her decision.
“Defendants willingly negotiated and bound themselves to these standards for all minors in its custody, and no final regulations or changed circumstances yet merit termination of the Flores agreement,” the judge added.
The Flores agreement allows for the settlement to be phased out when rules are issued for the custody of immigrant children that are consistent with its terms.
The Department of Justice said the administration is disappointed with the ruling because it did what was required to implement the new rules.
“In 1996, Congress passed a law explicitly and unambiguously authorizing expedited removal of illegal aliens within two years of their arrival in this country,” White House said in a statement. “While previous administrations severely curtailed application of this law, the Trump Administration has used this critical tool to the full extent that Congress authorized to respond to the unprecedented crisis in our immigration system and at our southern border.”
“That tool is vital to addressing the many aliens in the United States who have no right to remain here. A single judge is now prohibiting the Government from enforcing the law as written,” it added.
“For two and a half years, the Trump Administration has been trying to restore enforcement of the immigration laws passed by Congress. And for two and a half years, misguided lower court decisions have been preventing those laws from ever being enforced—at immense cost to the whole country,” the statement concluded.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press