Court Orders Better Facilities for Detained Illegal Aliens

MCALLEN, TX - SEPTEMBER 08: A boy from Honduras watches a movie at a detention facility r
John Moore/Getty Images

A federal judge in Arizona has ordered federal officials to give illegal aliens in Arizona’s Tucson Sector better facilities while detained.

The illegal alien plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit complain that “the conditions in the holding facilities a[re] far inferior to those they found in the local jails.” They say that illegal alien detainees suffer from lack of sleep because of the conditions, including that the border patrol agents keep the lights on at night.

The plaintiffs urge that the detention centers get very hot and very cold, and bemoan the lack of access to personal hygiene products. They also allege that there is “limited access to food and water.”

The National Immigration Law Center, one of the organizations that represent the plaintiff illegal aliens in the class action lawsuit tweeted after the ruling, “Federal Court Order: Border Patrol Hieleras Can No Longer Be a Constitution-Free Zone.” “Hierleras” is the Spanish word for ice cooler or icebox.

A Nicaraguan who has been detained twice in the facilities, and two other female illegal aliens in the immigration center, sued federal officials and the Secretary of Homeland Security in June of 2015, reported Courthouse News at the time of the filing of the class action lawsuit. The illegal alien plaintiffs were seeking an injunction to get a halt to the “illegal and unconstitutional conditions” they say were provided.

The plaintiffs are represented by the National Immigration Law Center, attorneys with Morrison & Foerster, LLP, the ACLU Foundation of Arizona, the American Immigration Council and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR).

Nora Preciado, a staff attorney with The National Immigration Law Center said, “Today is a victory for our plaintiffs, and a victory for our Constitution. No one regardless of where they were born, should be subjected to the deplorable conditions our plaintiffs and other class members endured in the hieleras and we will ensure this order is implemented swiftly.”

“In secret prisons, where basic human needs were withheld and detainees were treated worse than convicted criminals, today’s order has real meaning for the thousands of lives affected,” said counsel Colette Reiner Mayer of Morrison & Foerster and counsel in a statement released by The National Immigration Law Center (NILC). “This is a good first step towards remedying the harsh unconstitutional conditions in the Border Patrol detention facilities in the Tucson Sector.”

According to the NILC, attorneys representing the plaintiff illegal aliens sought a preliminary injunction in December 2015 “to stop the Border Patrol’s unconstitutional detention practices while the case is litigated.”

The National Immigration Law Center, an organization which states it “is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants,” also tweeted on the same day as the Court’s Order, “Our #immigration know-your-rights information has now been translated to Chinese! Get it here:”

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.

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