Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Children detained in shelters for migrants must have access to basic hygiene products and adequate sleep, a federal court ruled Thursday.
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco dismissed a federal government appeal of a 2017 district court decision that stated government shelters are required to provide items such as hygiene items, adequate sleeping conditions and food an water to afford children "safe and sanitary conditions," despite not being explicitly listed in the landmark 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement.
"Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste and are not sleep deprived are without doubt essential to the children's safety," Judge Marsha Berzon wrote in the ruling.
"The district court properly construed the agreement as requiring such conditions rather than allowing the government to decide whether to provide them."
The district court found that minors held in these detention centers lacked a sufficient number of hot, edible meals, adequate access to drinking water, and experienced unsanitary conditions in cells and bathrooms.
The federal government had argued that the provisions laid out in the Flores Agreement were too vague and should be "left to the agencies to determine."
Berzon upheld the district court's ruling that "safe and sanitary conditions" should include adequate access to edible meals, products such as toothpaste, soap and clean clothes, and proper sleep conditions among other provisions.
"Those determinations reflect a commonsense understanding of what the quoted language requires," she wrote.