Press Release: 2019-07-11
AG Healey Leads Brief Demanding Immediate Relief for Children Held in Inhumane Detention Centers by Trump Administration
BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey today co-led a coalition of 20 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief to defend the rights of immigrant children detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and demanding immediate relief for children held in inhumane conditions at the border.
In the brief, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the attorneys general voiced support of an application by the plaintiffs in Flores v. Barr for a temporary restraining order to prevent further harm to children held by CBP. The plaintiffs have asked to compel the federal government to comply with its legal obligations to hold children in safe and sanitary conditions, promptly release them from custody or transfer them to licensed facilities, and to refrain from separating them from their loved ones.
“The illegal and cruel treatment of immigrant children, who are kept in confinement and away from their parents, should horrify all Americans,” said AG Healey. “We are filing this brief to bring an end to this abuse.”
In their brief, the attorneys general argue that the Trump Administration has violated a settlement agreement in the Flores case by holding children for weeks in inhumane conditions, without access to basic necessities like soap, clean water, food, toothbrushes, showers, or a place to sleep. According to the brief, children held at CBP facilities are denied access to safe and sanitary conditions, medication, and proper supervision, with young children being irresponsibly and dangerously tasked with the care of toddlers and infants.
The brief further argues that the federal government’s blatant disregard of its obligations under Flores also violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. By compromising the health and well-being of children in custody and separating children from their parents and relative caretakers, the Trump Administration’s actions violate fundamental constitutional principles, the brief argues.
AG Healey has taken a number of actions against Trump Administration’s illegal and unconstitutional immigration policies.
In February 2019, AG Healey joined 19 attorneys general in filing a brief challenging the Trump Administration’s “turnback policy,” which effectively halted the asylum process at the southern border for thousands of people waiting to present their claims. In June 2018, AG Healey co-led a coalition of 18 states in suing the Trump Administration over its illegal policy of forcibly separating families at the southern border. AG Healey has also joined amicus briefs in opposition to Administration policies that required asylum-seekers to present their claims at a port of entry and blocked asylum claims based on gang and domestic violence.
AG Healey co-led today’s filing with the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and was joined by attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.