Lawsuit filed over immigrants' access to lawyers

Posted at: 08/22/2014 12:45 PM
Updated at: 08/22/2014 6:02 PM
By: RUSSELL CONTRERAS, The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A coalition of lawyers has filed a lawsuit against federal immigration authorities, claiming detainees at a New Mexico detention center aren't getting proper legal representation.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced Friday it filed the federal lawsuit to get U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to change its policies that quickly deport immigrants without attorneys.

The ACLU and other legal groups say a lack of due process for Central American women and children detained in the isolated town of Artesia isn't allowing them to present their cases for asylum. They say the Artesia center has turned into a "deportation mill" because of the barriers in place that stop immigrants from having lawyers.

Currently, more than 600 women and children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are detained at Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia while they await either deportation or asylum.

Arrivals and deportations at the center are currently halted because of Chicken Pox.

Read legal complaint: