A U.S. federal judge on Friday ordered the government to swiftly release immigrant children held at detention centers, affirming a July ruling that said some minors who crossed the border illegally were being detained in violation of a long-standing settlement.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles gave the administration of President Barack Obama until Oct. 23 to comply with her order to release hundreds of unauthorized immigrant children, and in some cases their mothers, “without unnecessary delay.”
Gee’s ruling comes amid debate by U.S. presidential candidates over illegal immigration and follows an influx of immigrants from Central America across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Last year, more than 68,000 children traveling without a parent entered the country. The federal government has held unaccompanied children, or children caught with a parent, in special facilities.