A Judge Just Ordered The Release Of Images From An Arizona Immigration Detention Center

Photos of Migrant Holding Cells ReleasedNewly released photos show the inhumane conditions at migrant holding cells on the U.S./Mexico border. http://nyti.ms/2bm4BsI

Posted by Video From The New York Times on Friday, August 19, 2016

Credit: The New York Times / Facebook

This video from the New York Times shows recently-released photos of an immigration detention center in Arizona. 

Last year, a group of more than 75 immigrants filed a class-action lawsuit against the Border Patrol, claiming they were subjected to inhumane treatment while they were held in short-term detention centers. The suit, which was filed by a coalition of civil right organizations, including the ACLU and National Immigration Law Center, claims detainees in Arizona and Texas were held in dirty cells with no beds and no showers. Detainees nicknamed the cells “hieleras” (iceboxes) because the cells were so cold. Border Patrol officials say the cells are usually between 68 to 80 degrees. The lawsuit also alleges that Border Patrol officials did not screen detainees for dangerous medical conditions and didn’t provide proper healthcare for those in need.

The detention centers in question are short-term shelters designed to hold people before they are processed, which means they are there for several hours before getting deported or being sent to a long-term detention center. According to a Border Patrol manual, the short-term detention centers are supposed to house migrants for less than 12 hours. The lawsuit alleges that more than 80 percent of those detained in Arizona (Tucson, Yuma) and Texas (Rio Grande Valley, Laredo) were held for *at least* 24 hours. Some detainees were held for more than 48 hours.

U.S. District Judge David C. Bury, who was presiding over the case, ruled that images taken from surveillance footage should be made public. Newly-released images from a Tucson detention center show detainees in cramped conditions. Their faces were blacked out to protect their identities.

One image shows 20 men stuffed in a cell sleeping under thermal blankets.

Credit: U.S. Border Patrol
CREDIT: Credit: U.S. Border Patrol

Other images include a man drinking from a jug of water that was shared among several detainees for a five-day period.

Credit: Border Patrol
CREDIT: Credit: Border Patrol

In a conference call with reporters, Nora Preciado of the National Immigration Law Center said: “These reports have largely been dismissed as anecdotal, since there was essentially no ability to talk to those held in hieleras and there was no evidence to show what it is really like inside. Now, the evidence released allows the public to see for themselves.”

The Border Patrol released a statement saying it is “committed to the safety, security and welfare of those in our custody, especially those who are most vulnerable.”

READ: This Interactive Map Shows That Immigration Is NOT Just A Latino Thing

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