*BREAKING: Read about the class action lawsuit recently filed by four men detained at the Torrance County Detention Facility. The lawsuit argues that ICE wrongly recertified the facility as meeting detention standards, thus thwarting a federal law that would have required ICE to cancel its contract with the facility.*
The Torrance County Detention Facility (TCDF) is an infamous immigration prison in Estancia, New Mexico. Since TCDF was re-opened in 2019, thousands of asylum seekers have suffered within its walls, surviving inhumane conditions, woefully inadequate medical and mental health care, rampant due process violations, and punitive use of solitary confinement, among other harms. Several people detained at TCDF have attempted suicide, and in August 2022, a young Brazilian asylum seeker named Kesley Vial took his own life after receiving inappropriate mental health care at TCDF.
In March 2022, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General called for ICE to cease detaining individuals at TCDF due to its poor conditions. Yet, on any given day, ICE continues to detain hundreds of people at TCDF.
Not only does TCDF inflict human rights abuses on a massive scale against the migrants it detains, it also harms the staff who work there, with research showing that prison staff experience increased rates of suicide, PTSD symptoms, and other health problems.
Although some suggest that TCDF is good for the local economy, prisons can actually harm economic development, leaving communities branded as undesirable “prison towns” and making them precariously dependent on a single industry that could leave at any time. Ultimately, TCDF only benefits its large, corporate owner, CoreCivic, a private prison corporation that profits off of human suffering.
TCDF has become a symbol of injustice and suffering, but it could become a symbol of progress. Shutting down the Torrance County Detention Facility and building a just transition to a brighter economic future for the people of Estancia would affirm a commitment to compassion and dignity for migrants and demonstrate that together, we can build a world where everyone thrives.
- Read testimonies from men detained at the Torrance County Detention Facility
- Read the recent federal complaint regarding ongoing human rights violations at Torrance, submitted by LL and our partners
- Learn more about the history of the Torrance County Detention Facility
- News about the Torrance County Detention Facility
- Torrance County Detention Facility FOIA litigation
- Learn how rural communities can thrive without immigration prisons like the Torrance County Detention Facility
Learn more about the harmful histories of the other immigration detention centers in New Mexico: