OLYMPIA - On Wednesday, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined forces with 19 other attorneys general in support of an ongoing lawsuit relating to the detention of migrant children.
The lawsuit seeks to force the Trump Administration to provide safe and sanitary for immigrant children currently held in detention. In their amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief filed Wednesday in the S. District Court for the Central District of California, the attorneys general argue that the Trump Administration's ongoing treatment of migrant children is in violation of a court-approved settlement.
The long-standing settlement previously approved by the court ruled the federal government must meet minimum standards when detaining immigrant children which reportedly includes safe and sanitary conditions.
The attorneys general also contend the settlement calls for prompt release or placement, which they argue the Trump Administration continues to violate the settlement. The attorneys general also claim immigrant children that are held in detention by the federal government do not have access to basic necessities such as clean water, toothbrushes, showers, soap or a place to sleep.
“This Administration’s blatant disregard for judicial orders and the basic human rights of immigrant children simply cannot continue,” Ferguson said. “The Trump Administration’s cruelty undermines our American values."
In 1997, an agreement known as the Flores Settlement was reached after a class-action was filed against the federal government on behalf of immigrant children detained in custody. The agreement specifically included conditions surrounding the treatment of migrant children held by the government, including basic sanitation, drinking water and food, adequate medical care and reasonable supervision. The settlement in 1997 also set specific limits on how long children can be detained and held in custody.
In the brief filed on Wednesday, the united group of attorneys general cited multiple reports from the media that reportedly detail the “deplorable and inhumane conditions in which the federal government is currently holding vulnerable immigrant children.”
The legal experts also contend that the Trump Administration 'continues to fail to hold children in facilities that are safe and sanitary' and the administration's actions violate the Flores Agreement. They call for immediate intervention by the court to address the ongoing actions of the Trump Administration.
In June of last year, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration, arguing againstthe administration's Zero Tolerance Policy, which Ferguson says forced the separation of immigrant families at the border. Currently, the lawsuit is pending before the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.