Federal judge orders CBP to let doctors into detention centers

A federal judge has ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to allow medical professionals into detention facilities holding migrant children, CNN reported Sunday.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered that health professionals be allowed in the facilities to ensure the conditions are "safe and sanitary" for children being detained there and to assess the children's medical needs.

The order pertains to all of CBP's facilities in the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley sectors in Texas, CNN reported. The centers are the subject of a lawsuit regarding the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement and reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions at detention centers.

Prosecutors had requested immediate action to address conditions they said threaten the wellbeing of children.

Last week, prosecutors asked the court to hold the Trump administration in contempt and take immediate action to remedy unsafe conditions at border facilities. 

"The children, including infants and expectant mothers, are dirty, cold, hungry and sleep-deprived," prosecutors said, referring to conditions at detention centers, including one in Clint, Texas.

Gee, an Obama appointee, ruled late Friday that an independent monitor must ensure conditions in detention centers are promptly addressed, setting a July 12 deadline, according to The New York Times.

At a recent hearing, Department of Justice senior litigation counsel Sarah Fabian testified that the department is compliant with the law, arguing a toothbrush and soap were not necessary to fulfill safe and sanitary conditions for detained children.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), a 2020 presidential candidate, is scheduled to visit the Border Patrol facility in Clint on Sunday. Democratic presidential candidates visited a detention facility in Homestead, Fla., last week and commented on the horrific conditions they witnessed.