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Source & Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

Jenny L. Flores v. William P. Barr

Overview

Jenny L. Flores v. William P. Barr (U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 6/26/20): As part of the ongoing Flores Settlement Agreement (limiting the length of time and conditions under which migrant children can be incarcerated in immigration detention), the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (“ORR”) must strictly follow COVID-19 protocols. The court found ICE and ORR failed to take court-ordered steps to ensure sanitary conditions in detention centers where families and unaccompanied minors are held. After several persons at the detention centers tested positive for COVID-19, Judge Dolly Gee condemned “ICE’s incomplete, infrequent, and at times, inaccurate, parole determinations and failure to implement best public health practices.” She highlighted the dangers for contagion spread in congregate living settings and ordered defendants to immediately transfer minors who have resided at the detention centers for more than 20 days to non-congregate settings, providing specific explanations for any delays in releases. Defendants must also “urgently enforce” COVID-19 protocols, particularly social distancing, masking, and enhanced testing. Read the full opinion here.  

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – August 11, 2020.

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