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Immigration Law

Court Orders Release of Graphic Photos of Arizona Border Patrol Detention Facilities and Damning Expert Witness Testimony

NILC, Aug. 18, 2016 - "Today, groups made public damning evidence, including expert testimony and video stills illustrating the deplorable and unconstitutional conditions detained individuals are subjected to in Border Patrol custody in the agency’s Tucson Sector.

The court rejected the Border Patrol’s effort to conceal evidence of inhumane and abusive detention practices from the public. Accepting the position of the plaintiffs and the Arizona Republic, which intervened to argue for the release of the materials, the court recognized that access to court proceedings and to basic information about governmental practices are fundamental First Amendment rights.

The video stills and expert testimony released today reveal that the Border Patrol holds individuals—among them traumatized asylum-seekers and mothers with infants and small children—for days at a time in cold, overcrowded, and dirty cells that are designed to detain people for only a few hours. Graphic photographs show detainees packed head-to-foot in filthy, overcrowded rooms. One image captures a mother changing an infant’s diaper on a trash-strewn concrete floor. ...

Jane Doe, et al. v. Johnson, et al. was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Attorneys on the case include Harold J. McElhinny, Colette Reiner Mayer, Louise C. Stoupe, Kevin M. Coles, Pieter S. de Ganon, and Elizabeth Balassone of Morrison & Foerster LLP; Nora Preciado, Linton Joaquin, and Karen C. Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center; Mary Kenney and Melissa Crow of the American Immigration Council; Travis Silva of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area; and Katie Brody, Brenda Muñoz Furnish, and Dan Pochoda of ACLU of Arizona.

The images and expert testimony are available at

More information about this case is available at"

Juan Gastelum, National Immigration Law Center, gastelum@nilc.org213-375-3149
Wendy Feliz, American Immigration Council, 202-507-7524,
Steve Kilar, ACLU of Arizona, 602-773-6007,
Candice Francis, LCCR, 415-543-9697×216,
Hayley Home, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 415-268-6021,