The Latest: US defends gang-related immigrant detentions

NEW YORK — The Latest on a lawsuit that says teenagers accused of gang affiliations are being illegally detained (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice is defending the detention of immigrant teenagers over allegations of gang affiliation.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday claiming some teens who entered the United States under the unaccompanied-children program are being illegally detained.

But Department of Justice spokesman Devin O'Malley says the department will defend President Donald Trump's authority to keep Americans safe. He says gangs in El Salvador are recruiting children as young as 8 years old.

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco on behalf of three teenagers recently detained on Long Island, east of New York. An ACLU lawyer says the lawsuit was filed there because the teenagers were taken to a government facility in northern California.

The suit charges the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement with accepting unsubstantiated gang allegations.

The Republican president recently visited Long Island and vowed a crackdown on gangs.

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5:30 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit claiming some teenagers who entered the United States under the unaccompanied children program are being illegally detained because of alleged gang affiliations.

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco on behalf of three teenagers recently detained on Long Island. An ACLU lawyer says the lawsuit was filed there because the teenagers were taken to a government facility in northern California.

The lawsuit is seeking class-action status in order to determine the national scope of the detention program.

The suit charges the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement with accepting unsubstantiated gang allegations.

Last month, the New York Civil Liberties Union said at least nine students from Long Island were detained.

Federal officials did not immediately comment.

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