Alleging that the U.S. government unfairly deported mothers and children who have fled violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America, civil rights organizations Friday filed a lawsuit over the policies on their behalf.
The women were held at a detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, which is hours from the nearest major city and makes it difficult for immigration lawyers to work with them, the suit says. ACLU attorney Mitra Ebadolahi called it the “detention equivalent of a black hole.”
“U.S. law guarantees them a fair opportunity to seek asylum,” Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said. “Yet, the government’s policy violates that basic law and core American values — we do not send people who are seeking asylum back into harm’s way. We should not sacrifice fairness for speed in life-or-death situations.”
The organizations involved in the suit are The National Immigration Law Center (NILC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Immigration Council, and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.