Judge Dolly Gee shot down, with gusto and venomous contempt, the Trump administration’s frivolous request to modify the Flores agreement to enable them to indefinitely detain children with their parents.
Here is are some key excerpts, followed by the decision:
On July 24, 2015, the Court denied Defendants’ motion seeking to modify the Flores Agreement on the same grounds now raised anew in Defendants’ Ex Parte Application. See Defs.’ Motion to Amend at 13, 17–21, 27–28, 30–33 [Doc. # 120]; July 24, 2015 Order at 19–25 [Doc. # 177]; Ex Parte Appl. at 15–16 [Doc. # 435-1] (repeating Defendants’ position that detaining family units in unlicensed family residential facilities deters others from unlawfully entering the country). In short, Defendants have run afoul of Local Rule 7-18 because the Ex Parte Application “repeat[s] . . . oral or written argument made in support of” the earlier Motion to Amend. C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-18.
It is apparent that Defendants’ Application is a cynical attempt, on an ex parte basis, to shift responsibility to the Judiciary for over 20 years of Congressional inaction and ill-considered Executive action that have led to the current stalemate. The parties voluntarily agreed to the terms of the Flores Agreement more than two decades ago. The Court did not force the parties into the agreement nor did it draft the contractual language. Its role is merely to interpret and enforce the clear and unambiguous language to which the parties agreed, applying wellestablished principles of law. Regardless, what is certain is that the children who are the beneficiaries of the Flores Agreement’s protections and who are now in Defendants’ custody are blameless. They are subject to the decisions made by adults over whom they have no control. In implementing the Agreement, their best interests should be paramount.
To the extent Defendants claim that the Ms. L Order supports their request for modification, their argument fares no better because they have not shown that Ms. L required Defendants to violate the Flores Agreement or that compliance with the Ms. L Order would “directly conflict” with the Flores Agreement’s release and state licensure provisions. See Flores v. Sessions, 862 F.3d 863, 874 (9th Cir. 2017) (noting that this is the standard for modifying a decree on change of law grounds). Absolutely nothing prevents Defendants from reconsidering their current blanket policy of family detention and reinstating prosecutorial discretion. See Exec. Order No. 13841, 83 Fed. Reg. at 29435; see also 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a)(2)(A) (providing that the Attorney General has the discretion to release certain aliens