- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Staff and detainees walk between the tents inside the Tornillo, Texas, detention center for immigrant children, which closed earlier this year.
The suits argue the administration's ongoing detention of immigrant children, largely from Central America, violates a 2008 federal rule requiring children be housed "in the least restrictive setting available."
The suits bolster the claims of immigrant rights groups who say children are lingering in lockup when they have U.S. relatives who are willing to care for them. Many of the migrant children now in detention fled dangerous conditions in Central America without their parents or a guardian.
One of the suits, filed Friday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, also maintains that the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement collaborated with immigration authorities to start deportation cases against family members who stepped forward to care for detained children.
Over the past year, 170 such sponsors have been arrested and forced into deportation proceedings, NPR reported, citing information from the lawsuit's attorneys.
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