Lawyers ask judge to hold Trump administration in contempt over border conditions

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 00:48:13-04

A group of lawyers on Wednesday night asked a federal judge to hold the Trump administration in contempt and to order immediate improvements to conditions at Customs and Border Protection facilities where children are being held.

The filing specifically cites facilities in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso, Texas.

The lawyers are part of a team of doctors and advocates that warned last week of what they said were major health and hygiene problems at Customs and Border Protection facilities in Texas following visits to the facilities.

“Instead, class member children are held for weeks in deplorable conditions, without access to soap, clean water, showers, clean clothing, toilets, toothbrushes, adequate nutrition or adequate sleep. The children, including infants and expectant mothers, are dirty, cold, hungry and sleep-deprived,” reads the court filing.

The filing is part of the Flores Agreement, a 1997 agreement that requires the government to release children from immigration detention without unnecessary delay to their parents, other adult relatives or licensed programs.

The visits were negotiated with Customs and Border Protection because the team is monitoring government compliance with the Flores settlement.

The Trump administration has been pushing to end the settlement, arguing the restrictions get in the way of immigration enforcement. The administration has also said it’s been overwhelmed by a humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border, and the White House is requesting $4.5 billion in emergency funding to deal with it.

Customs and Border Protection has pushed back against the allegations raised by lawyers, doctors and advocates last week, and reiterated that its facilities are not fitted to care for children.

The temporary restraining order was filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, where the case was originally filed.