Lawsuit filed against Family Detention Center in Artesia

Posted at: 08/23/2014 10:20 PM
Updated at: 08/23/2014 10:23 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Hundreds of women and children have been deported from the Family Detention Center set up at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia since it opened more than a month ago.

Few cameras have been allowed inside, but advocates, like Tannia Esparza of Young Women United, have.

“Many of the women I met with are strong mothers and are really just looking to care for their children,” Esparza said.

Esparza says she heard stories from moms about how in the center, their kids are given little medical attention and women are given little legal help.

“They feel very judged and they don't feel safe,” Esparza said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico says they’ve heard the same. Friday, they along with immigration rights groups, filed a lawsuit representing women who say their deportation hearings didn’t meet the letter of the law.

“Oftentimes those meetings, the questions that are asked are very coercive, the women are cut off in the interviews, and often times are often threatened or screamed at,” ACLU of New Mexico executive director Peter Simonson said.

The Department of Homeland Security won’t comment on pending litigation, but officials say everything happening in Artesia and other detention centers has been humane and lawful.

You can view the full lawsuit filed here: Lawsuit against Family Detention Center in Artesia