On Friday, a US federal judge ruled that the Department of Justice's current system of detaining children with their immigrant mothers - often in unsafe conditions - violates the law.

An 18-year-old court settlement barred children from being held in unlicensed facilities. Yet that's what's been happening to children who become detained after they've crossed the US - Mexico border with their mothers. "They are holding children in unsafe facilities, it's that simple," said Peter Schey, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and one of the attorneys who brought the suit.

The decision made on Friday is clearly a win for immigrant rights lawyers, and immigrant families in general, though its immediate implications for detainees are unclear.


Facts about immigration in the US:

Just six states account for 60% of unauthorized immigrants in the US— California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

About 7% of K-12 students in the US had at least one unauthorized immigrant parent in 2012. Among these students, about eight-in-ten (79%) were born in the U.S. In Nevada, almost one-in-five students (18%) have at least one unauthorized immigrant parent, the largest share in the nation.

In 2014, there were 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the US.

Cover image: Wikimedia