Media Contact Information
Alex Mensing, Communications Strategist
ESTANCIA N.M. –– Yesterday, November 18th, immigrant rights advocates delivered a second demand letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after the agency failed to respond to a previous letter and continued to deny adequate access to legal support for a group of Haitian migrants detained at Torrance County Detention Facility in New Mexico. In the nearly two weeks since advocates sent the first letter, detained Haitians’ physical and mental health have deteriorated due to inadequate medical care, poor quality food and water, and reprehensibly arbitrary denials of their requests for release from detention.
Through the first letter, advocates succeeded in prompting ICE to grant pro bono attorney Allegra Love access to provide an in-person legal rights presentation to a group of detained Haitians. However, ICE has failed to comply with five additional demands, all of which are in line with minimal standards of access to legal support. The unmet demands include halting the deportation of Haitians until they have had an opportunity to consult with counsel and ensuring their access to confidential legal calls to counsel and to the pro bono legal hotline run by the El Paso Immigration Collaborative. ICE’s refusal to meet these demands reveals its commitment to harming and deporting Black Haitian migrants at all costs, and amount to racist discrimination.
Haitians detained at Torrance report medical neglect and abuse including rashes, lack of access to medication and being kicked by a guard. Formal requests for release submitted by pro bono attorney Allegra Love on behalf of Haitians, including humanitarian parole requests and requests for release pursuant to Fraihat v. ICE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been either ignored or arbitrarily denied by ICE, in one case less than five minutes after submission. These conditions make clear that even if advocates’ important demands for access to legal services are met, Haitians’ wellbeing and legal right to a fair immigration process will continue to be denied until they are released from immigration detention.
Attorney Allegra Love and immigrant rights groups Innovation Law Lab, National Immigration Project, Haitian Bridge Alliance, the ACLU of New Mexico, and the American Immigration Council delivered both letters.
Innovation Law Lab: Alex Mensing, firstname.lastname@example.org
National Immigration Project: Arianna Rosales, email@example.com
Haitian Bridge Alliance: Taisha Saintil, firstname.lastname@example.org
ACLU of New Mexico: Katie Hoeppner, email@example.com
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Innovation Law Lab, based in Portland, Oregon with projects around the United States, is a nonprofit organization that harnesses technology, lawyers and organizers to advance immigrant and refugee justice. For more information, see www.innovationlawlab.org and follow us on social media: Innovation Law Lab on Facebook and @ThinkLawLab on Twitter.
The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and support to community-based immigrant organizations, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens. NIPNLG utilizes impact litigation, advocacy, and public education to pursue its mission. Learn more at nipnlg.org. Follow NIPNLG on social media: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild on Facebook, @NIPNLG on Twitter.
Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), also known as “the Bridge”, is a grassroots community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provide migrants and immigrants with humanitarian, legal, and social services, with a particular focus on Black migrants, the Haitian community, women and girls, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. HBA also seeks to elevate the issues unique to Black migrants and build solidarity and collective movement toward policy change. Anpil men, chay pa lou (“Many hands make the load light”).
The ACLU-NM is the New Mexico state affiliate of the ACLU, the nation’s premier civil rights and civil liberties organization. The purpose of ACLU-NM is to protect and advance justice, liberty and equity as guaranteed by the constitutions of New Mexico and the United States. We work to make justice, liberty and equity realities for all people in New Mexico, with particular attention to the rights of people and groups who have historically been disenfranchised. For more information please visit www.aclu-nm.org
The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. Follow the latest Council news and information on ImmigrationImpact.com and Twitter @immcouncil.