News & Politics

Judge Smacks Down Trump's 'Tortured' and 'Cynical' Attempt to Defend Detaining Immigrant Kids Indefinitely

The administration petitioned the court to let it detain families together indefinitely.

Photo Credit: White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Judge Dolly Gee delivered a blow to President Donald Trump's plan to address the crisis he created at the U.S.-Mexico border when his administration began enforcing a zero-tolerance policy against unauthorized border crossers and started separating immigrant children from their parents en masse.

After the president issued an executive order, ostensibly designed to stop the separations, the administration petitioned a federal court to alter the decades-old Flores agreement that prevents the government from detaining immigrant children for more than 20 days.

But Gee called the government's argument "tortured" and rejected that request to change the agreement. Gee's judgment of the request was scathing.

"It is apparent that [the government's] application is a cynical attempt, on an ex parte basis, to shift responsibility to the Judiciary for over 20 years of Congressional inaction and ill-considered Executive action that have led to the current stalemate," Gee writes. "Regardless, what is certain is that the children who are the beneficiaries of the Flores Agreement’s protections and who are now in Defendants’ custody are blameless. They are subject to the decisions made by adults over whom they have no control. In implementing the Agreement, their best interests should be paramount."

This means that if the administration detains immigrant children and parents together for longer than 20 days, it will have to decide whether to separate them again, which Trump has said he doesn't want to do, or to release the entire family, which he also doesn't want to do.

The most likely outcome seems to be that the administration will start separating the families again, but now it will try to blame the courts for the horror it inflicts.

Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.