Federal Judge orders parties to mediation over conditions of migrant children detention centers

US Federal District Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California ordered the federal government and plaintiffs of a class action suit to mediation Friday to remedy conditions at migrant children detention centers.

The order comes as part of a class action suit filed on behalf of 80 children currently held in detention centers by Customs and Border Protection. The plaintiffs filed a temporary restraining order last week after monitors revealed unsanitary conditions including dirty clothes, diapers, and denial of access to food and bathing. The plaintiffs sought immediate inspections of Customs and Border Protection facilities by an independent public health expert, access for independent physicians including an intensive care unit, and Contempt of Court for Customs and Border Protection for these violations. Customs and Border Protection filed an Opposition requesting the opportunity to fully brief the court on the allegations they are accused of.

The Judge acknowledged that the court has already clearly stated the definition of violations of the Flores Agreement which governs the treatment of migrant children in the government’s custody. The judge described the history of Customs and Border Protection violating the Flores Agreement and declared that the Flores Agreement required the government create a comprehensive plan for migrant children. With all this in mind, the judge ordered the parties to expedited mediation before a court-ordered Monitor she had appointed last year. She empowered the Monitor to mediate between the parties to resolve conditions and if necessary retain the services of a public health expert. Lastly, she ordered both parties to create a joint status report on the results of the mediation by July 12, 2019.