Washington, D.C. – March 13, 2014 – Today Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court against Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to force CBP to disclose documents and records related to the abuse of immigrant women, children, and men held by CBP in detention facilities along the U.S. border.
“We have heard from more than a hundred immigrants who were held by our own government in the most inhumane conditions here in the US. Customs and Border Protection Agent kept adults and children in detention facilities under conditions that most Americans would believe only exist in third-world countries,” said Joseph Anderson, Esq., Director of Litigation for AI Justice. “Men, women and children are locked up in extremely overcrowded cells, sometimes for weeks at a time, with no beds, no showers, no clean clothing, and little food or water. The lights are kept on 24/7, and the temperature is so cold that people’s fingers and toes turn blue and their lips chap, crack, and bleed,” said Anderson. “In July 2013 we asked CBP to produce records related to the use of these inhumane practices and got no response. We asked twice more for these government records without success. Today we filed suit in federal court to force CBP to produce these records that we believe will prove that CBP agents have used and continue to use illegal, inhumane tactics to coerce immigrants into agreeing to waive all their rights and be immediately deported” said Anderson.
“Some of the men and women held by CBP in these abusive conditions are bona fide asylum seekers who have every right to come to the U.S. seeking our protection and help. They include women fleeing violence and children whose families and lives have been threatened by gang violence,” said Cheryl Little, Esq., Executive Director of AI Justice. “It is shameful that people who have already experienced tragic and devastating losses and come here seeking our help are instead subject to further trauma at the hands of our own government,” said Little. “CBP should stop stonewalling and, not only produce the documents we have requested, but also conduct their own investigation and immediately put an end to the illegal and unconscionable treatment of vulnerable people.”