Fri | Mar 23, 2018

Advocates in 2 states act to improve treatment of immigrants

Published:Friday | April 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A US Border Patrol agent drives near the US-Mexico border fence in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. A new complaint says US Border Patrol agents are looting immigrants of possessions before deporting them to Mexico without their IDs or money.


Advocates took action on two fronts Wednesday to push for better treatment of immigrants in federal custody, claiming that they are having their belongings taken by United States agents and are languishing behind bars because of unfair bond conditions set by judges and others.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and other organisations filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Homeland Security alleging that Border Patrol agents have been seizing immigrants' property before deporting them to Mexico, in some cases to cities where they didn't know anyone.

It came on the same day that the ACLU of Southern California sued to demand that deportation agents and immigration judges consider immigrants' ability to pay when setting bond to avoid jailing people solely because they are poor. Advocates contend that at least 100 immigrants are detained in the region each day despite being granted bond.

The cases were filed separately and follow heated rhetoric on the presidential campaign trail about how the country should treat immigrants and which ones should be allowed to stay.

Advocates in New Mexico said immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally were deported without their belongings in 26 cases and that the seizures put them in harm's way.