Voto Latino Applauds Ruling Demanding Release of Migrant Children in ICE Custody

Washington, DC –  A federal judge has ruled that migrant children being held in three detention centers across the country must be released due to the risk of infection from COVID-19 and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) failure to protect those in custody. The ruling orders all children who have been held for more than 20 days be released to their parents or to “available suitable sponsors or other available COVID-free non-congregate settings” with the consent of their parents. 

“This is a victory for the dignity and safety of children who have been criminalized and neglected by the Trump administration,” said María Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino “These kids should never have been detained in the first place, in facilities we know to be dangerous, where eight children have died in custody, and lacking basic supplies. There was absolutely no reason for ICE to continue to detain children in such close proximity in the middle of a deadly pandemic.”

Parents of detained children have reported being told by ICE agents that they could either be detained with their children or have their children turned over to sponsors in the United States. Earlier reports have indicated that ICE is unable to determine the whereabouts of approximately 1,500 children separated from their families after the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy was implemented. The United Nations has declared that minor detention and family separation violates the human rights of children.

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