Liberal groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Immigration Council filed a lawsuit against the government Friday, arguing that the Obama administration’s recently adopted expedited deportation procedures are unconstitutional.
The case centers on woman and children deported from a detention facility in Artesia, N.M., an isolated center housing over 500 people detained along the southwest United States border. The center has already been accused of keeping immigrants in unsanitary conditions, and earlier this summer had to halt all deportations because of a chicken pox outbreak.
“This loss of due process is a recurring theme in Artesia,” wrote Sarah Perez, an immigration attorney who visited the facility in July. Perez said that in addition to being hours away from any attorneys, the facility made it very difficult for lawyers to speak with detainees once there, and that phone calls are limited to five minutes. (RELATED: Boehner Blasts Obama On Incoherent Migration Policy)
“We created flyers to let the detainees know that they have the right to an attorney, and that there are pro bono attorneys ready to consult with them,” she said. “In the morning we handed them out, but in the afternoon detainees told us that they’d been told that if they were caught with the flyers, they would be in trouble.”
Not everyone agrees with Perez’s assessment–according to talk radio host David Webb, “full medical care is provided free of charge as well as other personal amenities for daily life” and that “immigration judges and attorneys have been flown in to accommodate every legal need.” He did not name his source, but wrote that “source provided first hand access to this information and is fully vetted.” (RELATED: Dem Politician Says Grant Illegals Amnesty Or They’ll Become Terrorists)
“Families detained at Artesia are almost completely cut off from communications with the outside world, provided insufficient information and in some cases no information about their rights under the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act], affirmatively precluded from effectively contacting and receiving assistance from attorneys and ultimately forced to navigate pro se [on their own] a complex immigration process that is heavily weighted against them,” argues the suit.
The INA, first implemented in 1952, grants that “any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States…irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum.” The suit also holds that the Artesia deportations violate the due process clause of the 5th Amendment.