Ninth Circuit Rules Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Entitled to Court Hearing Prior to Detention

Ninth Circuit Rules Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Entitled to Court Hearing Prior to Detention

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held unanimously that minor children who enter the U.S. without permission are entitled to a court hearing to determine whether they should be released. According to the court, federal immigration authorities are still bound by the 1997 lawsuit settlement in Flores v. Janet Reno, which established a right to a court hearing for minor immigrants, as well as a policy encouraging authorities to release them from detention. The Flores settlement provided that minor immigrants who were detained by immigration authorities without a parent present had certain rights that the government must respect. These rights included the right to a bond hearing, the right to be given the government’s evidence against them, and the right to a lawyer. The lawsuit stemmed from the practices of federal immigration authorities, who were detaining minors for months at a time with no opportunity to be released, even when a parent was seeking the release of a child. The federal government argued that the two laws passed by Congress after the 1997 settlement, which specifically addressed unaccompanied minor immigrants, superceded and replaced the settlement agreement. According to the government, these laws removed the minor immigrants’ rights to a bond hearing. The Court, however, disagreed, finding that the basic provisions of the 1997 Flores settlement were still in full force and effect. The Ninth Circuit ruling upheld the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee, who is based in Los Angeles, California. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we are actively watching the new administration’s policies regarding deportation as they continue to develop, as well as the continued use of the SIJ program. Whether the administration continues its current crackdown or not, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of detained noncitizens and working toward their release from detention. We know how to evaluate your case, explore your options, and provide you with the strongest defense against removal possible. Contact your California deportation defense attorneys today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.
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