A panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled a lower court’s order to reduce the detention population of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility by the hundreds.
The Trump administration scored a major win on Tuesday after a three-judge panel ruled that detainees in the Adelanto ICE Processing Facility, a dentition center that sits northeast of Los Angeles, do need to be released en masse while a lower court ruling is being appealed, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The decision overrules a decision made by U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter on April 23. The judge had ordered the Adelanto facility to no longer accept new inmates and to reduce its detainee population by at least 250 by the end of the month.
Such a move, Hatter said, would allow remaining inmates and employees to properly practice social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decision pertained to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, a progressive organization that has adamantly opposed President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda.
Attorneys for the Trump administration lodged an emergency request against Hatter’s decision one day later in a bid to prevent an immediate release of more than 200 detainees.
The Ninth Circuit panel that overruled the decision consisted of judges Barry Silverman, Jacqueline Nguyen and Daniel Collins. In a written opinion, Collins said the injunction must “state its terms specifically,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“One of the many problems with the district court’s injunction is that it disregards the very sort of considerations that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] says may require adaption of the guidelines in the context of a particular facility,” Collins wrote.
The Adelanto facility, one of the biggest ICE detention centers in the country, holds space for roughly 2,000 detainees but is currently holding around 1,200.
Across the country, ICE is currently detaining just shy of 29,700 foreign nationals, according to the agency’s latest data.
Information provided by the agency also shows that a total of 1,346 inmates have been tested for coronavirus. Of those, 674 detainees have tested positive for the disease.
The Trump administration has recently been dealt a mixed bag from the Ninth Circuit when it’s come to recent decisions regarding its immigration agenda.
On Monday, the appeals court blocked a request from the administration to deny green card applicants who can’t prove they can afford health care.
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