A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled that the Trump administration must provide adequate food, water and basic hygiene items to children being held in immigration detention centers.
A three-judge panel for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco Thursday ruled that the administration had violated a 1997 settlement agreement that requires the government to provide “safe and sanitary” facilities.
“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 panel wrote.
In June, a government lawyer had argued that the agreement did not stipulate that a toothbrush and soap be provided to children during brief stays in custody.
Senior director of the National Center for Youth Law, Leecia Welch, said “It should shock the conscience of all Americans to know that our government argued children do not need these bare essentials.”
The 1997 Flores settlement mandates that the children should be held in facilities that meet certain standards and released as soon as is reasonably possible.