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Judge partially ends court oversight of migrant children, chipping away at 27-year arrangement

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge on Friday approved the Biden administration’s request to partially end a nearly three-decade-old agreement to provide court oversight of how the government cares for migrant children in its custody.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ruled that special court supervision may end at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, which takes custody of migrant children after they have been in Border Patrol custody for up to 72 hours. They are placed in a vast network of holding facilities and generally released to close relatives.

The Justice Department argued that new safeguards, which are set to take effect Monday, meet and in some ways exceed standards set forth in the court settlement. The judge for the most part agreed, carving out exceptions for certain types of facilities for children with more acute needs.

Lawyers for child migrants strenuously opposed the administration’s request, arguing that the federal government has failed to develop a regulatory framework in states, such as Texas and Florida, that revoked licenses of facilities caring for child migrants or may do so in the future. The judge rejected those concerns, saying the new regulations are sufficient to replace court supervision at those unlicensed facilities.

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