Editor's Note: A version of this story first appeared on PSmag.com on July 29, 2015, with the headline "A Final Nail in the Coffin for Family Detention Centers?" This edited version was published in our November/December 2015 print issue.
In our May/June 2015 issue, Lauren Markham wrote about recent immigrant Clara Orozco (a pseudonym), who was held in a detention center with her daughter (“Scorched”). Orozco had to flee death threats in her native Honduras, and made her way through Guatemala and Mexico with her 13-year-old before being apprehended by Border Patrol in Texas. “The two were locked up for seven days,” Markham wrote. “At times Clara felt she might not survive; more than 30 mothers and children shared a cell so small that the adults slept sitting up.”
U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee recently found that conditions like those Orozco and her daughter endured are in violation of a 1997 court settlement outlining “safe and sanitary” facility requirements. The decision may lead to the release of the estimated 1,400 women and children currently being held in detention centers.
At press time, the Department of Homeland Security had yet to outline its next steps, stating only that it will review the decision and “consider available options.”
Since We Last Spoke examines the latest policy and research updates to past Pacific Standard news coverage.
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