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Three Rulings Against Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Agenda Offer 2020 Reminder Why Courts Matter

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Courts doing what Republicans in Congress refuse to – stand up to a dangerous and erratic President for a better vision for America

Three court rulings from the end of last week dealt setbacks to the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda:

  • Judge Dolly Gee ruled against the Trump administration’s regulation attempting to overturn the Flores settlement and allow for indefinite detention of children;
  • Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Trump attempt at expedited removals without due process; and
  • U.S. District Court Judge André Birotte Jr. issued a permanent injunction in the Gonzalez v. ICE case, barring Immigration and Customs Enforcement from issuing many types of detainers.

According to Douglas Rivlin, Communications Director of America’s Voice: “Each of the three rulings will have a positive impact on real lives, and each deals a setback to the administration’s unrelenting assault on immigrants, refugees, and the rule of law that is the cornerstone of our democracy. Together, they also offer a reminder of why courts matter and why the judicial branch is doing what Republicans in Congress refuse to do by standing up to Trump and an out-of-control and dangerously erratic president. Trump would rather go around laws when he feels they constrain him in making progress on his campaign themes and priorities, but once again, the courts are stepping in responsibly to maintain our nation’s commitment to justice.”

Below, find more information and excerpts on the implications and details of each ruling:

The New York Times’ Miriam Jordan on Judge Dolly Gee of Federal District Court for the Central District of California’s ruling on Flores

A federal judge on Friday rejected new regulations that would allow the government to hold children and their parents in detention for indefinite periods, one of the Trump administration’s signature efforts to curtail the large number of families arriving from Central America.

Describing the government’s defense of its proposed new policy as “Kafkaesque” in some of its reasoning, Judge Dolly Gee of Federal District Court for the Central District of California said it was up to Congress, not the administration, to supplant a 20-year-old consent decree that requires children to be held in state-licensed facilities and released in most cases within 20 days.

The Washington Post’s Spencer S. Hsu reports on U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s ruling on expedited deportations:  

A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from dramatically expanding its power to deport migrants who have illegally entered the United States in the past two years by using a fast-track deportation process that bypasses immigration judges.

…Jackson rejected the Department of Homeland Security’s argument that it has authority under immigration law to bypass federal notice and rulemaking requirements, saying it was likely that plaintiffs would be able to prove the sweeping change was “arbitrary and capricious, and therefore unlawful, because DHS failed to address significant flaws in the expedited removal system,” and because it ignored the impact of the expansion “on settled documented noncitizens and their communities.”

The Los Angeles Times summarizes the permanent injunction issued by U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Judge Birotte’s in Gonzalez v. ICE:

Friday, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. issued a permanent injunction barring ICE from relying solely on databases when issuing so-called detainers, which are requests made to police agencies to keep people who have been arrested in custody for up two days beyond the time they would otherwise be held.

ICE is also blocked from issuing detainers to state and local law enforcement in states where there isn’t an explicit statute authorizing civil immigration arrests on detainers, according to the judge’s decision.

The decision affects any detainers issued by an ICE officer in the federal court system’s Central District of California.

That designation is significant because the Pacific Enforcement Response Center, a facility in Orange County, is an ICE hub from which agents send out detainer requests to authorities in 43 states, Guam and Washington, D.C. It is covered by the Central District.