Nationwide Preliminary Injunction For Unaccompanied Minors in ICE Custody
The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law won a nationwide preliminary injunction in a class action lawsuit to expand the rights of detained unaccompanied minors in detention by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The complaint filed alleged that: 1) ORR regularly moves children from state-licensed shelters to highly restrictive juvenile halls and psychiatric detentions; 2) ORR prolongs the detention of children if they find the parent or guardian unfit; 3) ORR involuntarily administers powerful psychiatric drugs to children without procedural safeguards being followed; 4) ORR blocks lawyers access to their detained children clients; and 5) ORR confines children with disabilities in restrictive settings rather than in appropriate settings.
The preliminary injunction states that:
- ORR must notify detained immigrant minors and their lawyer if they decide against releasing them to a parent or guardian. ORR must also provide a reason for the denial of release. If the denial is solely for “ minor poses a danger to self or others”, then the decision may be appealed.
- When ORR determines that a minor cannot be released to a parent or guardian, then they must provide written notice of this denial, the evidence used to come to this conclusion, and a notice that the decision may be appealed.
- ORR must provide “clear and convincing evidence” if they continue to hold a child in restrictive placement.
- The injunction imposes administrative review timelines and requires the creation of the Placement Review Panel to hear the challenges to restrictive placement.