Lawyers have asked a federal judge for immediate relief from “unconstitutional conditions of confinement” at Border Patrol stations in the Tucson Sector, said James Lyall, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona.
Lawyers cited two reports that No More Deaths released in 2008 and 2011 that documented mistreatment of people in Border Patrol custody.
Lyall and other attorneys went to federal court in Tucson in June 2015 on behalf of two women who were detained in the Tucson Border Patrol station and a Tucson man detained twice in that facility. They, along with hundreds of other immigrants in short-term custody, shivered in cold, crowded cells without beds, blankets, adequate food, water, and medical care, the suit Doe v. Johnson alleges.
Border Patrol responded by destroying or recording over some videotapes last summer that showed conditions inside the detention areas. But their action backfired when Judge David Bury sanctioned Border Patrol and ordered it to turn other video footage and database information over to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
“Much of that evidence is under seal and we’re asking for release to the public,” Lyall said.
In January, Judge Bury denied a motion by the government to dismiss the case and granted class status to “all people who are or will be detained overnight in Tucson Sector Border Patrol stations,” Lyall said. The briefing on the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction was recently completed and is now pending before the court.
Lawyers cited two reports that No More Deaths released in 2008 and 2011 that documented mistreatment of people in Border Patrol custody. The American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU of Arizona, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and Morrison & Foerster LLP are working together to represent the plaintiffs.
Text: Denise Holley.
Featured photo: Paige Winslett. Giant puppets created by Marc David Pinate of Borderlands Theater represent the contract defense lawyers, federal prosecutor, interpreter, and federal judge/magistrate of Operation Streamline, who quickly counsel, arraign, convict, and sentence up to 70 border crossers on most working days. Volunteers from No More Deaths and other groups that make up the End Streamline Coalition staged the enactment December 16, 2015 in front of the DeConcini Federal Courthouse in Tucson as part of a week of public actions to protest the Streamline court on its 10th anniversary.