New “Expose and Close” Report Documents Conditions at the Artesia Detention Facility in NM as Family Detentions in the U.S. Skyrocket



Tuesday, 23 September 2014


Silky Shah:

New "Expose and Close" Report Documents Conditions at the Artesia Detention Facility in NM as Family Detentions in the U.S. Skyrocket


Rep. Judy Chu Joins Advocates and Experts Urging President Obama to Immediately Close the Artesia Family Detention Center in New Mexico

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, September 23rd, Detention Watch Network released the findings of their latest "Expose and Close" report on the Artesia Family Residential Center - documenting the conditions facing families currently detained in Artesia, New Mexico.  

The report outlines how conditions at the Artesia Family Residential Center, specifically the barriers to legal access, broken asylum process, interference with telephone communications, deficient medical and mental health care, lack of childcare and educational services, and the inadequate conditions for good health and wellness create dangerous conditions that undermine the wellbeing of women and children under U.S. custody.  Moreover, the report documents the dramatic rise in the use of family detention by U.S. officials - skyrocketing more than 1200% in the last 3 months alone. 


"Although the White House has framed the situation at the border as a humanitarian crisis, its response to refugee families arriving at the border is inhumane, alarmingly punitive, and based on aggressively expanding the government's model of incarcerating and deporting immigrants at record rates," said Madhuri Grewal, Policy Counsel at Detention Watch Network. "We are disappointed that on the day we release this report, ICE is publicly announcing its plans to incarcerate thousands more women and children in the coming months. DWN calls on the Obama administration to close Artesia and all family detention facilities. The administration should also cancel plans for a new 2,400-bed family detention center in Dilley, TX and instead divert funds toward providing refugee support to the families and children arriving at the border." 

"The administration's increased use of family detention is extremely concerning. These women and children have fled the Northern Triangle region, some of the most dangerous countries in the world, to seek protection in the U.S.—and instead they face prolonged detention while they fight their asylum claims. Let's be clear, there is no way to detain families humanely," said Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA). "As this important report details, these facilities detain a particularly vulnerable population with poor access to mental health care and legal counsel. I am particularly alarmed by children and their mothers – many of whom are victims of domestic violence – being held in prison-like conditions that betray our country's role as a leader in refugee protections."  

"These families have traveled thousands of hard, dangerous miles to escape the violence that made their homes unlivable," added Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights. "Instead of receiving them with compassion, we have placed them in a remote location without due process protections and in inadequate living conditions. But no amount of fixing the conditions will prevent the long-term psychological effects of imprisonment on these women and children. Family detention is shameful and wrong and the government should shut these facilities down immediately, particularly when effective, less expensive and more humane alternatives exist."

"Southeastern New Mexico immigrant families face the challenges of anti-immigrant policies and the continuous attacks from anti-immigrant politicians such as Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM). The opening of the family detention center is yet another attack to immigrant workers and their families," said Marina Piña, Organizer at Somos Un Pueblo Unido. "We call on all our elected officials to immediately halt the expansion of family detention and child incarceration. It is never humane to jail a child because of her or his immigration status. If our government is willing to do this to the most defenseless and vulnerable among us, purely for political convenience, then what can the rest of us hope for?"

For more information, or for interviews, please contact Silky Shah by email at

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The Detention Watch Network works through the collective strength and diversity of its members to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons.