Lawyers representing migrant children in United States custody asked a federal court on Aug. 9 to order the release of the migrant teenagers from two emergency housing sites in Texas.
The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law filed the lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that the migrant teenagers held at facilities in Fort Bliss and Pecos were subjected to substandard conditions, prolonged stays, inadequate services, and mental distress.
CBS News first reported the story.
The lawyers accused the administration of President Joe Biden of violating the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which set the basic standards of care for children in immigration custody.
The suit contains first-hand accounts of the migrant children in the emergency sites, as well as testimonies from legal service provides, federal whistleblowers, and mental health experts.
Concerning accounts from the migrant children include being served undercooked food, being held for extended stays despite having a relative in the U.S., and lack of access to education, recreation, and healthcare.
The lawsuit calls for an end to the placement of vulnerable migrant children at the Fort Bliss and Pecos facilities due to the “inherently inappropriate and harmful conditions.”
“While we understand the magnitude of the challenge facing the administration, there is no excuse for failing to hold government contractors accountable for complying with basic child welfare standards and allowing children to remain in unsafe conditions for months on end,” Leecia Welch, Senior Director of Child Welfare and Legal Advocacy at the NYCL, said in a statement.
The hearing is scheduled on Sept. 10.
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