LOS ANGELES, CA — The federal government has to supply blankets and soap to the children being held in immigrant detention facilities, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.
The decision upholds a Los Angeles judge’s order requiring basic personal hygiene items and adequate bedding to children. The case garnered national outrage when a government attorney argued that items such as soap or blankets and sleep shouldn’t be considered necessities for children being held by the government.
“Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste and are not sleep-deprived are without doubt essential to the children’s safety,” the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled.
“The district court properly construed the agreement as requiring such conditions rather than allowing the government to decide whether to provide them,” the panel said.
For critics of the administration, the case illustrates a policy of weaponizing cruelty toward children to discourage immigration.
The case centered on an a two-decade old legal agreement known as the Flores Agreement. It essentially guaranteed that all detained immigrant children receive humane treatment
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The ruling by a three-judge panel of the backs the two-decade old Flores agreement, which guarantees all detained immigrant children humane treatment and the right to be promptly released unless they are a flight risk or a danger to themselves or others.