Seeking Records About Possible Due Process Violations of Detainees at the Torrance Detention Facility

Seeking Records About Possible Due Process Violations of Detainees at the Torrance Detention Facility

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

These Freedom of Information Ac(FOIA) requests seek records from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) about treatment of Haitian immigrants at the Torrance County Detention Facility in Estancia, New Mexico. 

The recently documented discriminatory treatment of Haitian immigrants by officers of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the U.S.-Mexico border garnered wide attention from media and elected officials. The disparate treatment of Haitian nationals has continued in ICE detention, as Haitian detainees at the Torrance County Detention Facility have voiced concerns about lack of access to legal counsel, meaningful language access, and rushed removals.  

Last September, images showing CBP officers on horseback charging at Haitian immigrants to stop them from entering the country drew wide condemnation from the highest levels of government. However, the discriminatory treatment of Haitian nationals did not stop at the border, as ICE took dozens of Haitians into custody and detained them at the Torrance County Detention Facility. This detention center, operated by the private prison company CoreCivic, is known for subjecting detainees to appalling conditions of confinementand recently failed a government inspection. 

ICE has made it difficult for Haitian nationals detained at the Torrance County Detention Facility to access legal counsel and interpreters that would allow them to communicate in their native language with ICE officers and engage in the legal processAdditionally, reports indicate that Haitian nationals detained at Torrence have been subject to expedited case scheduling and received improper advisals from immigration judges.  

Accordingly, the Council’s FOIA requests seek the following information from ICE and EOIR through FOIA requests: 

  • Records, including communications, between ICE officers about the detention of Haitian nationals at the Torrance County Detention Facility. 
  • Records about how ICE and EOIR determined requests for parole from the recently detained Haitian immigrants at the detention facility.  
  • Information about requests for legal assistance from Haitian detainees at the detention facility. 
  • Data about individuals detained at the Torrance County Detention Facility, as well as those who appeared at the EOIR’s El Paso Service Processing Center - the immigration court with jurisdiction over the detention facility.  

These records are crucial to the public’s understanding of how Haitian immigrants are being treated by ICE and the immigration court. 

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