Influx of Immigrants in Texas Border Towns as Detention Centers Reach Capacity

By Peek & Toland on June 21, 2019

Various immigrant detention centers in the Texas Rio Grande Valley have swelled beyond capacity in recent months, which has led Border Patrol officials to release thousands of immigrants into the streets of these border cities at the direction of its parent agency, Customs and Border Protection. In just a few days in March 2019, Border Patrol released over 2,200 migrants from the government processing facilities with future dates to appear in immigration court.

The influx of immigrants has required the releases, despite the Trump administration’s clear directive to eliminate past protocols of “catch and release” of immigrants. The administration had vowed to focus on detaining immigrants who attempt to cross the border outside a normal port of entry until their deportation, rather than releasing them with a date to appear in immigration court.

Influx of Immigrants in Texas Border Towns as Detention Centers Reach Capacity

The release of these immigrants also has stressed migrant services facilities beyond their maximum capacity, as city officials struggle to meet the needs of large numbers of unexpected immigrants being released. In McAllen, for instance, a Catholic Charities immigrant respite center housed in an old nursing home is using every available inch to house these immigrants, at least on a temporary basis. Likewise, in El Paso, the release of 150 immigrants at once caused city officials to temporarily turn a public park into a staging area until they could find housing for these immigrants in local hotels, after shelters quickly ran out of space.

The influx of immigrants is seemingly endless, with most of them turning themselves in to Border Patrol and seeking asylum. In one 24-hour period, Border Patrol agents apprehended over 1,000 migrants in the McAllen area, most of whom were traveling in groups consisting of 200 or 300 people. Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.

Posted in Immigration

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More Immigrants Die in ICE Custody

By Peek & Toland on October 24, 2017

A rise in deaths of immigrants in ICE custody has alarmed watchdogs and other immigrant organizations. They are pointing the finger at conditions at for-profit facilities.

Earlier this year, a Honduran immigrant became the third immigrant to die at a controversial detention center in California, reported Think Progress.

Vicente Caceres-Maradiaga was arrested about a month before his death by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents during an immigration raid. He died when he collapsed while playing soccer at the Adelanto Detention Facility.

The facility is a controversial for-profit center. ICE listed the preliminary cause of death as acute coronary syndrome. Caceres-Maradiaga was previously diagnosed with hypertension as well as an umbilical hernia. He received treatment for both conditions in ICE custody.

ICE agents picked up Caceres-Maradiaga during a raid in the spring in North Hollywood, California.

Deaths in ICE custody raise alarms

ICE records stated he was never lawfully admitted to the U.S and had prior criminal convictions since 2011 – one for DUI and another for fraud, ICE stated.

However, the death has raised concerns about a spate of immigrant deaths at detention centers.  Caceres-Maradiaga was the ninth immigrant detainee to die in ICE custody in the 2017 fiscal year which started in October. He was the third to die at Adelanto.

In May, CNN reported on the apparent suicide of Jean Jimenez-Joseph, 27, at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia.

Jimenez-Joseph was found him in his cell with a sheet around his neck, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. They said the preliminary cause of the death was self-inflicted strangulation.

Word of the immigrant’s death sparked harsh criticism from immigrant rights activists who have warned of inadequate conditions at the detention center for some time.

Project South Advocacy Director Azadeh Shahshahani called Jimenez-Joseph’s death a “horrific tragedy that could have been prevented.”

Recently three organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, Detention Watch Network, and the National Immigrant Justice Center published a report called Fatal Neglect which claimed ICE ignores deaths in immigrant detention centers.

The report looked at deaths from 2010 to 2012 and concluded ICE detention facility inspections conducted before and after the deaths failed to acknowledge, and sometimes even dismissed, the critical flaws identified in the reviews into the deaths.

If you are being held in a detention center or a family member is facing deportation, our cancellation of removal lawyers may be able to help you. Please call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration

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New ‘Hotel-Like’ Immigration Center is Proposed in Texas

By Peek & Toland on August 29, 2016

Detention centers for immigrants certainly have a bad rap in Texas, but one company is seeking to improve conditions by proposing a ‘Hotel-like” immigration center.

Federal immigration officials are pressing ahead with plans for the 500-bed family detention center which would house migrant women and children, the Guardian reports.

Opponents are unimpressed with the plan, pointing out a detention center is still a detention center, even if it’s more upscale.

Family immigration center idea is controversial

The Department of Homeland Security is moving ahead and requesting proposals for the facility close to the Mexican border.

The immigration center would be in Dimmit County, just under 50 miles from Mexico. Officials said in June they would consider a bid from a firm that is proposing the new center in a 27-acre former work camp for oil workers. It claims the conditions would be far better than two other family detention centers in Texas.

The family detention centers have proved to be controversial.

What Are Family Immigration Centers?

Texas currently has two family detention centers in Dilley and Karnes City. They have the capacity to hold more than 2,000 women and children who are awaiting immigration rulings.

Earlier this year, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Council submitted a rule to create a child care licensing category at the two family detention centers.

In May, a judge heard a legal challenge and refused to license the facilities as child care centers.

The Austin-based group Grassroots Leadership successfully won a temporary injunction that has stalled the award of a child care facility license to the immigration center in Dilley. The Karnes City center received a temporary license in April.

Our Texas family immigration attorneys remain concerned about the conditions at these facilities and their suitability to house women and children, notwithstanding the comparisons of the proposed new immigration center with a hotel.

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission has highlighted complaints about inadequate medical care, low quality food and allegations of sexual abuse brought by detainees.

Stratton Oilfield Systems claimed its facility would offer a “community-based alternative,” that would allow children to attend schools and access social services in a home-like setting.

Cristina Parker, Immigration Programs Director for Grassroots Leadership, the organization that fought the childcare designations, said she objects to the idea of a detention center for families who have fled violence in their home countries, irrespective of conditions. She said any facility in which families are not free to leave is a prison.

The Obama administration’s ongoing use of family detention centers which house women and children has become one of the most controversial planks of its immigration policy.

If you or a loved one is being housed in a detention center or is facing deportation, it’s important to hire experienced Texas family immigration lawyers. Call us today for a consultation at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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