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Immigration Law

Class Action Challenges Tucson Border Patrol Detention Practices

"Tucson Sector Border Patrol holds men, women, and children in freezing, overcrowded, and filthy cells for extended periods of time in violation of the U.S. Constitution, a group of legal organizations allege in a class-action lawsuit filed Monday. The class-action suit, which was filed on behalf of two people detained in the Tucson Border Patrol Station as well as a Tucson man detained multiple times in that facility, describes Border Patrol limiting or denying access to beds, soap, showers, adequate meals and water, medical care, and lawyers, in violation of constitutional standards and Border Patrol’s own policies.

The National Immigration Law Center, the American Immigration Council, the ACLU of Arizona, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and Morrison & Foerster LLP filed the suit after interviewing the plaintiffs as well as more than 75 former detainees. Both current and former detainees consistently recount being subjected to days of mistreatment, abuse, and neglect.

“Our plaintiffs were detained for civil matters, but there is nothing civil about being deprived of water, provided inadequate or expired food, and being subjected to sleep deprivation,” said Nora Preciado, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. “We filed this lawsuit because the federal government has systemically failed to adhere to its own meager standards and constitutional requirements and thousands of people have suffered as a result.”

Former and current detainees described being packed into crowded cells with only concrete benches or the floor for a “bed.” They were stripped of warm clothing and provided with only flimsy aluminum sheets that do not protect against the frigid temperatures. In most cases, the lights are left on 24 hours a day, making sleep difficult, if not impossible. Immigrants have no soap or water to wash after using the restroom and before meals, and do not have access to showers." - NILC, June 10, 2015.

Adela de la Torre, NILC, 213-400-7822213-400-7822,
Wendy Feliz, AIC, 202-507-7524202-507-7524,
Steve Kilar, ACLU of Arizona, 602-773-6007602-773-6007,
Candice Francis, LCCR, 415-543-9697415-543-9697x216,
Jocelyn De Carvalho, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 212-336-4051212-336-4051,

More information about Jane Doe #1, et al. v. Jeh Johnson, et al.