In a move that has thrilled leftists groups like Southern Poverty Law Center and other illegal alien activist groups, a federal judge in Miami, Florida has ordered the release of hundreds of illegals from a detention center in Florida.
Citing conditions that amount to “cruel and unusual punishment,” a Miami federal judge ordered U.S. immigration authorities Thursday night to release hundreds of detainees held at three South Florida detention centers.
In a strongly worded 12-page order filed late Thursday, U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has acted with “deliberate indifference” to the condition of its detainees. She ordered the agency to report to her within three days how it plans to cut its non-criminal and medically vulnerable populations by the hundreds.
The judge also ordered the agency to submit weekly reports on the releases. After 10 days, ICE is to begin filing twice-weekly reports. Within two days, she ordered, ICE shall also provide masks to all detainees and replace them once a week.
“There is record evidence demonstrating that ICE has failed in its duty to protect the safety and general well-being of the petitioners,” Cooke wrote. “Social distancing at Krome is not only practically impossible, the conditions are becoming worse every day. Further, ICE has failed to provide detainees in some detention centers with masks, soap and other cleaning supplies, and failed to ensure that all detainees housed at the three detention centers can practice social distancing.”
She added: “Such failures amount to cruel and unusual punishment because they are exemplary of deliberate indifference…. Accordingly, there is sufficient evidence in this record to determine that the present conditions at the three detention centers constitute a violation of the Petitioners’ Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights.”
[The argument over the ‘rights’ of illegal aliens is ongoing.]
The judge said that detainees with non-violent criminal records or underlying health conditions who qualify for release can be subject to detention alternatives like parole, telephone monitoring, physical check-ins or GPS monitoring through electronic ankle bracelets.
Her order also comes eight days after federal Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman, who was asked by Cooke to take evidence in the case and report to her, filed a 69-page recommendation stating that ICE should “substantially” reduce detainee populations as COVID-19 positive cases continue to climb behind bars.
His recommendation was submitted in response to a lawsuit filed by national immigration advocates seeking the release of about 1,200 detainees from Krome, the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach and the Glades County detention center in Moore Haven.
Though the judge’s order is a victory for the detainees’ representatives in the case — lawyers for the University of Miami’s immigration law clinic, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Rapid Defense Network in New York, Americans for Immigrant Justice, the Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Miami law firm Prada Urizar, and Washington, D.C.-based law firm King & Spalding — the attorneys still fear that ICE will exploit a “loophole.”
“We hope that the court’s strongly worded order spurs ICE into immediately releasing people in large numbers,” said Rebecca Sharpless, director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Miami. “The worry is that ICE will instead evade the clear intention of the court by transferring people to other detention centers.”
Between the time the lawsuit was filed on April 13 and Cooke’s Thursday night order, the Herald has reported on dozens of ICE transfers that bused detainees in large groups from the three South Florida facilities to other detention centers in Georgia and Louisiana.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dexter Lee, who is representing ICE in the case, would not comment late Friday. However, in court filings in the case the agency said the “directives as to how ICE is to exercise its detention authority exceeds this court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate cases and controversies. There is no basis for this court’s oversight of ICE’s administration of its sound policies.”