Judge approves settlement establishing standards of care for youth held in Emergency Intake Sites
Never again should the federal government detain children in unregulated and unsafe Emergency Intake Sites (EISs). However, if they do, these young people will be afforded higher standards of care, following a judge's approval — at the request of the National Center for Youth Law and co-counsel — of a settlement to enforce the Flores Settlement Agreement.
U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee, in the Central District of California, approved the settlement of the motion to enforce Flores — initially filed in August 2021 by NCYL and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law — on Sept. 27, 2022. It ensures that if the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) uses EISs again in the future, the agency will follow minimum standards of care for children that include mental health services, time outdoors every day, case management services, educational services, and regular phone calls with family members.
The motion to enforce Flores was filed in 2021 after ORR began using large unlicensed EISs, which were wholly inappropriate placements for children. These EISs were built at convention centers, oil workman camps, military sites, and other locations across the country. EISs had no enforceable standards and housed thousands of children for months at a time with minimal services.
Children in federal immigration custody must be held in licensed placements, with proper standards, to protect their safety and ensure they receive appropriate services while in custody. This settlement will hold the government accountable to the young people in its custody.