US District Court in California denies motion to stay proceedings in case concerning undocumented immigrant children

US District Court in California denies motion to stay proceedings in case concerning undocumented immigrant children

On Thursday , the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied an ex parte application for stay of proceedings. The application was filed by the defendants, chiefly the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on December 26, 2018. This is the latest development regarding a lawsuit filed by various immigrant child advocacy organizations against the federal government. The lawsuit concerns undocumented minors from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala who are being held by federal officials in refugee holding facilities.

In their original complaint, the plaintiffs brought causes against the Department of Health and Human Services, along with other agencies, pursuance of policies that include the following: (1) determinations of potential custodians’ fitness; (2) placement of minors in RTCs, secure facilities, and medium-secure facilities; (3) administration of psychotropic drugs to minors; (4) decision to block minors’ access to legal assistance in matters relating to custody, medication, and release; and (5) discrimination against undocumented minors on the basis of their disabilities.

As of November 2, 2018, the federal Central District of California court granted, in part, plaintiff’s motion. At the same time, it also granted the defendant’s motion to certify the minor children in question’s class action status. In addition, the Court ordered the defendant to provide answer within 60 days from the date the court issued its order.

By December 26, 2018, the defendants filed for a motion to stay the proceedings including all deadlines in this case until “one week after the first business day on which appropriations are restored and government counsel are permitted to return to their litigation functions.” Subsequently, the Court denied defendant’s motion, saying the previously prescribed deadline is reasonable.