Federal immigration authorities have agreed to allow outside groups more freedom to conduct telephone medical screenings of detained illegal immigrants to help them make their asylum cases.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in an agreement approved by a federal judge Wednesday, said it will not hinder telephone-based mental exams for illegal immigrant women and children being kept at two detention facilities.

ICE also agreed to let a legal assistant working with the illegal immigrants back into one of the facilities in Texas.

The case is the latest battle between Homeland Security and immigrant-rights activists who say illegal immigrants are being treated poorly while stuck in detention awaiting their deportation or asylum case proceedings.

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