The Otero County Processing Center is a squat, beige facility surrounded by desert, about 30 minutes outside El Paso, in Chaparral, New Mexico. Last fall, a group of volunteers drove out to the site, to meet with some of the asylum seekers detained there.
A lot of our laws are super subjective and it’s a matter of interpretation. Our judges in El Paso take a very restrictive view. They violated my rights. I was in labor and nobody helped me. No one took me to the medical center, they didn’t talk to me, explain the process, nothing, Advocacy can help impact and change this system.
For detained immigrants, a phone call to an attorney can make the difference between safety in the U.S. or deportation back to a country where danger, and often the threat of death, looms. Recently, as an attorney volunteering with the Immigration Justice Campaign and the El Paso Immigration Collaborative (EPIC) to provide remote legal assistance to detained immigrants, I learned that detained immigrants in El Paso-area detention centers are systematically encountering barriers to phone access.
Letter Demands Release of Detained Individuals at Risk of COVID-19 in El Paso Area Immigration Detention Centers
The letter notes public health concerns related to COVID-19 for individuals in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s custody in El Paso, the need for the immediate release of individuals who are at high risk, and recommending steps to mitigate the crisis for this population.