The Border Patrol’s Tuscon sector has been slapped with a lawsuit involving detention conditions. The A-C-L-U and immigrant rights groups accuse the Border Patrol of keeping detained aliens in frigid cells for longer than the customary maximum 24 hour period and denying them food, water, hygiene and adequate clothing.

Collette Meyer with the Morrison-Forester law firm argues this treatment violates not only the constitution but even Border Patrol policies. “The conditions in which these men, women and children are held in are excessively harsh”, says Meyer. “Indeed, in many ways, these people are subjected to conditions that are far worse than even for convicted murderers and rapists.”

Nora Presidio with the National Immigration Law Center adds, the deplorable conditions are all the more appalling given these people have not even been convicted of anything. She claims detention officials answer to their suffering with a rebuke that this is the price they pay for illegally entering the U.S.

The class-action lawsuit’s goal seeks injunctive relief to force the Tucson sector to change its tactics rather than seek monetary damages to the thousands of alleged victims.

The Border Patrol claims it provides humane conditions for illegal border crossers.

–Barbara Villa

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