A federal appeals court decided 2-1 Wednesday to overturn a nationwide order requiring federal immigration authorities to monitor and possibly release detainees at high risk of dying or suffering long-term complications from COVID-19.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said a Riverside-based federal district judge overreached when he issued a preliminary injunction in April, 2020 requiring the government to identify and track immigration detainees with certain health risks and establish directives for release during the pandemic.
“That the plaintiffs and district court may have desired more detainees be released, and on a potentially quicker basis, does not mean that the government’s approach — which involved early release determinations — reflected reckless disregard on a national basis,” wrote Judge Daniel A. Bress, a Trump appointee. He was joined by Judge Eric D. Miller, whom Trump also appointed.
U.S. Dist. Judge Jesus D. Bernal issued the injunction at a time when a growing number of immigration detainees across the nation were contracting the coronavirus in crowded facilities. Lawyers were trying to free as many clients as possible based on constitutional and humanitarian arguments.
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