The Artesia detention center was set up around three to four months ago in the New Mexico desert as a temporary place home to the increasing numbers of undocumented immigrants from Central America, who had crossed the U.S. – Mexico border earlier this year. The undocumented immigrants, including women and children from Central America, mainly El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, did not have visas to enter the United States and many fled from their own countries in fear of their lives or other dangerous situations, including sexual abuse, and are claiming refugee status. Several of them were subsequently picked up by customs officials but were then later released and told to keep in contact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. However, it is thought that around 70% of those released ceased all contact with immigration officials and simply disappeared or moved on to other towns and cities within the United States.
The Artesia center was supposed to be merely temporary, but according to a recording of a confidential meeting between a government official and immigration advocates, given to the Associated Press, it appears that the facility could remain open until next summer and probably until August next year. The original purpose of the center was simply to process the immigrants and reduce the numbers who were entering the United States without proper documentation.
There are around 479 detainees at the center at present and more are expected to arrive shortly. It is thought that to process this number, plus those still arriving will take until next year. So far, according to ICE, 324 detainees have been deported back to their countries in Central American since the center opened.
But those detainees who have been made to stay at the center have been growing increasingly frustrated that they are being held with no idea when they can leave. This has led to a rash of complaints not only by the women themselves, but also by human rights attorneys who have said that the conditions at Artesia are increasing trauma to people who have already been traumatized by violence and death threats from their own countries.
The detainees feel that they have a problem due to the fact that they are refugees. This means it is very difficult for them to enter the United States legally. The legal methods include gaining an immigrant visa which is difficult and time consuming, or one of the employment based immigration categories. The majority who come to the United States legally gain their immigration status via a family visa.
The United State is in the middle of a full-blown immigration crisis. In order to give yourself the best chance of navigating the system, you are highly advised to consult qualified counsel as you work through your own immigration issues. In order to obtain the assistance you need, please contact the Austin immigration attorneys at the Lyttle law firm at 512-215-5225 or visit our website.