– A federal judge has ordered a mediator to move swiftly to improve health and sanitation at Border Patrol facilities in Texas, where observers reported migrant children were subject to filthy conditions that imperiled their health.

Judge Dolly Gee of the Central District of California asked late Friday that an independent monitor, whom she appointed last year, ensure that conditions in detention centers are promptly addressed. She set a deadline of July 12 for the government to report on what it has accomplished “post haste” to remedy them.

“We are hoping we can act expeditiously to resolve the conditions for children in Border Patrol custody,” said Holly Cooper, part of a team of lawyers who asked the federal court to intervene.

The lawyers’ reports on conditions at a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas — where they said children were unable to bathe, were living in filthy clothes and diapers and were often hungry — prompted a public outcry and a new motion asking the court to force the government to move more aggressively to improve accommodations along the border for the thousands of migrants arriving from Central America.

Monitors from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General detailed other serious problems with overcrowding at Customs and Border Protection facilities in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

The new order stopped short of directly ordering the government to take action but referred the issue to the monitor to take action for the “prompt remediation” of conditions at the facilities, including the retention of an independent public health expert.

A different story

Government officials have argued that they have responded as best they can to an unexpectedly large surge of new arrivals on the southern border. They disputed the reports from lawyers who visited migrant children at Clint, and said detainees were in fact being held in decent conditions with sufficient food.

But Democratic political leaders have seized on the recent reports in Texas as evidence that the Trump administration has not been sufficiently humane in its response to the overwhelming number of arrivals on the border. On Sunday, Beto O’Rourke, a former El Paso congressman now running for president, scheduled a public “rally for migrant children” in Clint. Another Democratic candidate, Julián Castro, visited the facility on Saturday.

In her order, Gee said that the court had detailed previous violations by the government of a 1997 consent decree, called the Flores settlement agreement, which established standards for the care of migrant children in its custody. A monitor had been appointed last year over the government’s objections after plaintiffs in the Flores case successfully argued that there had been egregious violations of the agreement.

On Thursday, lawyers filed a request for a temporary restraining order, saying that the government had run afoul of Flores standards at the Customs and Border Protection facilities in the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley areas of Texas.

“The parties need not use divining tools to extrapolate from those orders what does or does not constitute noncompliance,” the judge wrote in her three-page order. “The Court has made that clear.”

The “emergent” nature of the recent reports “demands immediate action,” the judge added.

The ruling was the second edict out of the California courts directed at the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Earlier Friday, a federal judge in Oakland permanently blocked the government from using $2.5 billion in contested funding to build barriers along the southwestern border.

The motion for a temporary restraining order asked the court to mandate immediate inspection of facilities in McAllen, Clint and Weslaco, all in Texas, by a public health expert. It also requested that medical professionals obtain access to those facilities and that the government speed up the release of children detained at the facility to sponsors — mainly parents or relatives in the United States.

“With each passing day, more hospitalizations are occurring and more lives are at risk. Immediate judicial intervention is necessary to compel immediate compliance with the agreement, end this health and welfare crisis, and prevent more illness and child deaths at the border,” the motion said.