Key Rulings and Legislation

Some key rulings and legislation.

August 2015 - Dolly Gee Ruling

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ruled the Department of Homeland Security was keeping children at detention centers in violation of a 1997 class-action settlement that said juveniles under the age of 18 cannot be held for more than 72 hours. If a parent was caught with his or her child, authorities could justify keeping the adult in custody if the person is a “significant flight risk” or poses a safety concern, the ruling said.

My read on this is that the ruling did not provide for blanket releases of adults from detention and did not apply to men or relatives other than mothers.

May 2018 - Zero Tolerance

The Attorney General of the United States announces a “zero tolerance policy,” under which all adults entering the United States illegally would be subject to criminal prosecution, and if accompanied by a minor child, the child would be separated from the parent.

July 2018 - Dana Sabraw Ruling

U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw blocks the Trump administration from separating immigrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Dolly Gee protections are expanded to include all parents -- men as well as women. Given that men have traditionally been the primary form of illegal immigration across the southwest border, this ruling appears to have had the effect of opening a new market segment to illegal immigration. Also, combined with the Dolly Gee ruling prohibiting holding of minors more than 72 hours, this would appear to require the release of apprehended parents upon release of their child. The ruling appears to make no provision for flight risk, thus, the child is to be released to the parents whether or not they represent a domestic flight risk.

My interpretation is that Judge Sabraw substantially increased the scope of protections provided to family units, and the immediate increase in families coming the southwest border across supports this view.

H.J.Res. 31: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (the Omnibus Bill)

Wording of the act:

224.(a) None of the funds provided by this Act or any other Act, or provided from any accounts in the Treasury of the United States derived by the collection of fees available to the components funded by this Act, may be used by the Secretary of Homeland Security to place in detention, remove, refer for a decision whether to initiate removal proceedings, or initiate removal proceedings against a sponsor, potential sponsor, or member of a household of a sponsor or potential sponsor of an unaccompanied alien child (as defined in section 462(g) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 279(g))) based on information shared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

In addition, this bill reduces border detention beds from 49,060 to 40,520 and adds another $40 million for the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, which moves asylum seekers to facilities in the interior of the country, where they are usually released. (Conservative Review)

The text to me reads like amnesty for anyone with or potentially with a UAC who qualifies under 462(g), that is, Sec 224(a) appears to materially destroy border control for anyone with an qualifying, unaccompanied minor.