Court: Illegal Alien Parents Can Be Detained, Children Must Be Released

WASHINGTON TIMES — Agents can detain illegal immigrant parents who try to break into the U.S. with their children, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, delivering a victory to one of the Obama administration’s remaining get-tough immigration policies.

But the court ruled that the children themselves must be released from custody quickly and sent to live with relatives or other sponsors — a blow to the administration’s argument.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a 1997 agreement on government treatment of unaccompanied children caught at the border should also apply to children who are traveling as a family, with a parent.

The ruling will push the administration to release still more of the children surging from Central America, but allows agents to keep the parents in detention, where the goal is to give them their day in front of an immigration judge and then deport them, if they’re not granted any relief.

“The settlement does not explicitly provide any rights to adults,” Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz said in the unanimous opinion for the court.

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