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Judge asked to appoint monitor in immigrant detention accord

Published:Friday | May 20, 2016 | 5:00 AMAP
Lucille Roybal-Allard, right, with Luis Gutierrez, speaks to the media with a group of children and families from Central America, about the conditions for recent Central American immigrants during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.

UNITED STATES

HOUSTON, (AP):

Immigrant rights lawyers have asked a federal judge to appoint a special monitor to oversee a longstanding legal agreement on the detention of children caught crossing the US-Mexico border, an accord at the centre of lawsuit set to be debated next month in a California appeals court.

The request is part of a motion filed Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court by attorneys who say officials are violating a July 2015 court order by US District Judge Dolly Gee that enforced the agreement. The judge's order said immigrant children should be released "without unnecessary delay" from detention centres, including two in Texas, and that kids can't be held in centres not licensed as child-care facilities.

Advocates for immigrant rights filed the lawsuit after federal officials began holding mothers and their children at detention centres set up in response to the arrival of tens of thousands from Central America in 2014. The Justice Department had argued it was necessary to modify the 1997 settlement and use detention to try to deter more immigrants from coming to the border after the 2014 surge.