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"Two weeks ago, the first pro bono lawyers were let in to the detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico,where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is keeping Central American migrant families. Since then, a small group of pro bono attorneys, organized by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, has been in the detention center 12 hours a day, trying to ensure that as many immigrants as possible get legal representation in a process that's complex, fast, and difficult to understand. Because the Obama administration has been clear that it wants immigrants' cases processed as quickly as possible — and that most of them should be deported — lawyers feel it's all the more important to make sure immigrants aren't being railroaded and are given an opportunity to exercise their rights.
One of those lawyers is Laura Lichter, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Lichter describes the court process in Artesia as a "sh*tshow" where judges won't let lawyers say anything during hearings, detainees who clearly deserve asylum are being denied, and no one will say what the legal basis is for judges and asylum officers' decisions. Here are nine of the biggest problems with the way the government's handling migrant families in Artesia, according to Lichter's account." - Dara Lind, Aug. 6, 2014.