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Border Detention Images Show How U.S. Abuses Migrants

    Detainees are held in a Tucson, Ariz., border facility in August 2015. (American Immigration Council)

Security camera images unsealed in a federal lawsuit show immigrants detained in Tucson, Ariz., by Customs and Border Protection wrapped in emergency blankets and squashed together with no room to move.

The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington reports:

Previously held under seal in a federal lawsuit in which the CBP is being sued for allegedly degrading and unconstitutional treatment of its charges, the photos offer a window into a world that until now has been rarely seen.

The shapes disclose that about 15 immigrant detainees were packed into a single cell at the Border Patrol’s facility in Tucson, Arizona. They are wrapped from head to toe in Mylar aluminium sheets for warmth, and appear to be lying directly on top of the concrete floor with no mattressing or other bedding of any sort. …

“Migrants detained in the Tucson sector have long suffered horrific conditions,” said Dan Pochoda, senior counsel for the ACLU of Arizona. “It is unconscionable that the federal government continues to detain people including infants in this manner. The Border Patrol continues to operate in violation of US and international law as well as its own standards without being held accountable for these egregious abuses.”

“The images unsealed by the court leave no room to debate the fact that thousands of immigrants are subjected to inhumane and unconstitutional conditions by the Border Patrol,” said Nora Preciado, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. …

As part of the evidence gathered in the case, the American Immigration Council consulted Eldon Vail, a former corrections officer with 35 years experience in prisons. In his expert opinion, he said that he had never been in a prison or jail that treated inmates as badly as CBP treated the border detainees.

“I have seen and experienced the effects of overcrowding but no jurisdiction would cram so many people into so little space, without beds and bedding,” he said.

Read more.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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