EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Five nonprofits want the federal government to grant immediate access to legal counsel and halt deportations of Haitians at a migrant detention center in Torrance County, New Mexico.
In a letter dated November 5, the groups accuse U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of denying the Haitians information about their cases, contact with legal advisers or the means to prepare a defense against deportation.
“Conditions at Torrance have effectively prevented Haitian immigrants detained there from retaining and communicating with legal counsel, obtaining basic information about their rights through group presentations or gathering evidence and preparing to present their case for relief in removal procedures,” the groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico said in their letter.
The Torrance County Detention facility is located near Albuquerque in Estancia, New Mexico.
The groups accuse ICE of expediting removal procedures against Haitians there, resulting in migrants attending hearings “with no benefit of legal orientation or representation.”
Their demands include that ICE immediately allow the Haitians to call the El Paso Immigration Collaborative pro bono hotline, allow detainees to schedule legal consultations by telephone or videoconferencing within one day of request, and a halt to removals of Haitians until they’ve had a chance to talk to counsel and had access to information about their rights in Kreyol.
The groups also gave ICE a Friday deadline to provide them with detailed information about Haitian migrants being held at Torrance, allow them to stage in-person, three-hour legal rights presentations at the facility and provide information about legal services in Kreyol.
Border Report reached out to ICE for a response and is awaiting comment.
The ACLU in late September reported to its members that the Torrance facility failed a government inspection earlier this year after investigating complaints of understaffing, unsanitary food and obstacles to visitation.
The facility holds male migrants for ICE and the U.S. Marshals Service and is managed by CoreCivic, a private prison corporation based in Tennessee.
Other groups signing their name to the petition include Innovation Law Lab, the National Immigration Project, the American Immigration Council and Haitian Bridge Alliance.