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Trump Administration Tells Federal Judges That It Shouldn't Be Required to Provide Toothbrushes or Soap to Detained Migrant Children 

  • Ilana Panich Linsman via ACLU
The Trump administration this week told a panel of federal judges that the government need not provide soap or toothbrushes to migrant children it apprehends, despite a 1997 settlement agreement requiring it to hold detainees in “safe and sanitary” facilities.

According to reporting from Courthouse News Service, Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian also argued in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that the government is legally allowed to make kids to sleep on concrete floors in cold and overcrowded cells.

The panel of three judges appeared unimpressed with the administration's claim, according to Courthouse News. In comments, the judges suggested the treatment violates the 1997 Flores agreement, which set up guidelines for U.S. immigration officials' humane detention of migrants.

“Are you arguing seriously that you do not read the agreement as requiring you to do anything other than what I just described: cold all night long, lights on all night long, sleeping on concrete and you’ve got an aluminum foil blanket?” U.S. Circuit Judge William asked Fabian. “I find it inconceivable that the government would say that that is safe and sanitary.”

The court case came about after a U.S. District Judge in Los Angeles appointed an independent monitor to make sure the feds comply with the Flores settlement. The Trump administration is asking the Ninth Circuit to reverse the order, claiming niceties such as soap, toothbrushes and beds aren't specifically mentioned in the settlement agreement.

The case comes as the Trump administration plans to detain 1,600 migrant teens in the town of Carrizo Springs southwest of San Antonio. Six migrant children have died in U.S. custody in the past eight months.

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