A federal court judge in California is expected to rule on whether the immigration detention centers in Pennsylvania and Texas should continue to hold families with children. If the judge finds that holding the families is unconstitutional, more than 2,000 mothers and children who have come to the United States seeking asylum could be released from the three detention centers.
During the summer of 2014, there were thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America who crossed over the U.S. border illegally. There were also many mothers from Central America who crossed over the border illegally with their young children. Although the government was required to release the unaccompanied minors to family members, the mothers and children have been held in three detention centers. The case that is currently before the federal district court concerns the question of whether the government's detention of these families is humane.
In 1997, a case called Flores v. Meese led to a legal settlement about the detention of children. Under the settlement, the government is required to provide minors with the least restrictive environment possible if they are detained. This means that the government must allow children to have access to nutrition, hygiene, education, medical care and opportunities for exercise. However, some are arguing that the conditions at the immigration detention centers in Texas and Pennsylavania are not humane.
A family that has arrived in the United States seeking asylum may achieve better results in their case if they have legal assistance. An immigration attorney may be able to help a family to stay out of a detention facility so that they can be in a better position to prepare their case.