"Inside the remote, secretive detention center for migrant families ... Hundreds of migrant families who have entered the US from Central America are being held in detention while they wait to be processed. Over 600 people are being held in the main facility, in Artesia, NM. The government is working to deport these families as quickly as possible, in the hopes of sending a message that will deter more families from coming. That's raised concerns about whether they're getting due process in their immigration cases, or whether families whose lives might be in danger are being deported.
The government restricts access to families in detention — including barring lawyers from visiting detention centers. But the National Immigration Law Center, a legal advocacy group, has a legal trump card: a standing order from the 1980s, from an injunction in a case called Orantes-Hernandez v. Smith. The standing order allows them to serve as class-action lawyers for all Salvadorans in detention who might be eligible for asylum. Now, they're using it to make the government let them in to interview families, and make sure that immigrants with legitimate cases for asylum are being heard.
Yesterday, a delegation from the National Immigration Law Center visited the detention facility in Artesia, NM, which is only a month old but already houses more than 600 mothers and children. Karen Tumlin, Managing Attorney for NILC, spoke to me about what they saw." - Dara Lind, July 24, 2014.