LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – The Washington Post reports that the fe…

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – The Washington Post reports that the federal government yesterday announced the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against conditions at a government detention center for illegal immigrant children and families in Taylor, Tex.

The deal averted a trial set to open in U.S. District Court in Austin, and it came as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has improved education, recreation, medical care and privacy standards at its first large holding facility for illegal immigrant families, the 512-bed T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility, which opened in May 2006.

The terms come as the Bush administration has continued to emphasize tougher enforcement efforts after this summer’s collapse of immigration legislation in Congress. Unions and other liberal activist groups are stepping up pressure in behalf of immigrants.

For instance, the Service Employees International Union plans today to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., against another federal immigration agency, charging that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services exceeded its authority by raising fees significantly July 30, including increasing charges for citizenship applicants from $400 to $675.

The increase “presents a huge barrier to thousands of immigrants” anxious to vote in the 2008 presidential primary and general elections, said Eliseo Medina the union’s executive vice president. “This lawsuit is about accountability.”

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