There appears to be some confusion created by the judge’s orders in the Ms. L. v. ICE case and the Flores Settlement Agreement, that Trump administration lawyers from the Department of Justice are taking advantage of — some would say abusing, at the expense of innocent children.
Dara Lind at Vox.com explains, A new court ruling officially opens the door for Trump to separate some migrant families again:
Judge Dolly Gee of the Central District of California formally refused the administration’s request to modify the Flores court settlement, which governs the treatment of children in immigration custody. The Flores agreement was the court ruling that the administration had pointed to for its policy of family separation — because it couldn’t keep children detained longer than 20 days, per Flores, it had to split children from their parents while the parents were in detention.
Gee rejected the administration’s request to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to keep migrant families in detention facilities for as long as it took to process their cases (a process which, for asylum seekers, can take months or longer).
It’s a defeat on the second front of a legal war for the Trump administration and its “zero tolerance” policy at the US-Mexico border. In the Flores case, the administration is fighting for indefinite family detention. In a separate federal case in San Diego, it’s being stopped from resuming family separation and hounded to quickly reunite the nearly 3,000 families separated while the policy was in full effect through mid-June.
But Monday night’s ruling also makes it clear that the administration has the power to start separating some migrant families again.