On Thursday, a group of immigrant rights lawyers made a filing to California U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee, in which they said the detention of women and children who have been caught attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border is lengthy, unsafe and illegal. The government has previously claimed the women and their children are only held for a few weeks to give asylum claims time to be processed, but the lawyers contest these assertions, saying families are routinely kept for more than a month.
Additionally the lawyers cited incidents of “hopelessly inadequate” medical and psychiatric care in the detention facilities, including children being given the wrong vaccinations, not receiving treatment for illnesses and becoming so sick they needed to be hospitalized.
“Children are being placed at risk every day,” the lawyers concluded, according to The Associated Press.
Late last month, Gee had ruled that children should be released from these centers as soon as possible, along with their mothers when practical, according to The New York Times. However, Homeland Security wants the judge to make a different ruling, citing shortened detention times and fears of a surge of immigration if the detention centers are no longer in use.
The lawyers who recently wrote to Gee believe her original ruling must stand.