Artesia Resource Page
Thousands of women and children fleeing violence and persecution in Central America have arrived at our southern border seeking refuge. In the summer of 2014, the government quickly propped up a family detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, hours away from the nearest metropolitan city. There, they are detaining hundreds of women and children in order to quickly process them for deportation. These families have become the latest collateral damage in an immigration system that lacks sensibility, flexibility and humanity and that fails to provide fair hearings, even for those who face grave danger if they are wrongly deported.
The Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the National Immigration Law Center, Van Der Hout Brigagliano & Nightingale LLP, and Jenner & Block, filed a lawsuit on behalf of mothers and children locked up in Artesia. The complaint charges the government with enacting a new strong-arm policy to ensure rapid deportations by holding these families to a nearly insurmountable and erroneous standard to prove their asylum claims, and by placing countless hurdles in front of them. We are demanding that the expedited deportation process comport with the immigration laws and the Constitution and that each person be afforded a meaningful opportunity to apply for asylum in the United States. We also have filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking to compel the release of government documents regarding the expedited removal process against families with children, including those detained by DHS in Artesia.
M.S.P.C. v. Johnson – Systemic Challenge to Policies at Artesia
This suit, filed on August 22, 2014 in the federal district court for the District of Columbia, is a systemic challenge to the policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children who have fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety.
According to the complaint, the Obama administration is violating long-established constitutional and statutory law by enacting policies that have:
- Categorically prejudged asylum cases with a "detain-and-deport" policy, regardless of individual circumstances.
- Drastically restricted communication with the outside world for the women and children held at the remote detention center, including communication with attorneys.
- Given virtually no notice to detainees of critically important interviews used to determine the outcome of asylum requests.
- Led to the intimidation and coercion of the women and children by immigration officers, including being screamed at for wanting to see a lawyer.
- Groups Sue U.S. Government over Life-Threatening Deportation Process Against Mothers and Children Escaping Extreme Violence in Central America (August 2014)
- Immigrant Rights Attorneys Detail Concrete Steps Being Taken to Address Due Process Violations in Artesia (August 2014) (recorded press conference)
Excerpts from Declarations - Read accounts from lawyers who observed the unfair and absuive treatment at Artesia.
American Immigration Council et al. v. DHS – FOIA Suit
On October 21, 2014, The American Immigration Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, with co-counsel, the National Immigration Law Center and Jenner & Block LLP, filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the release of government documents regarding the expedited removal process against families with children, including those detained by DHS in Artesia, New Mexico. The suit was filed in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York.
- Immigrant Rights Advocates Sue to Reveal Policies and Procedures at Artesia Family Detention Facility (October 2014)
- Blogs: View all our blogs on Artesia and Family Detention
- Report by Elizabeth Kennedy: No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children Are Fleeing Their Homes (July 2014)
- IPC Report: Children in Danger: A Guide to the Humanitarian Challenge at the Border (July 10, 2014)
- Press Release: America Must Uphold Its Obligatiosn to Protect Children and Families Fleeing Persecution (June 30, 2014)
- National Immigration Law Center Report: The U.S. Government's Response to the Current Influx of Unaccompanied Children at the Border and Its Obligations Under Existing Court Orders (June 2014)
- IPC Report: Mexican and Central American Asylum and Credible Fear Claims: Background and Context (May 21, 2014)