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ICE Continues to Deny Haitians Access to Legal Support, Humane Conditions, and Release from Torrance County Detention Facility

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Posted: Nov. 19, 2021

For Immediate Release
November 19, 2021

Arianna Rosales, National Immigration Project,

ESTANCIA, NM - Yesterday, November 18th, immigrant rights advocates delivered a second demand letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after the agency failed to respond to a previous letter and continued to deny adequate access to legal support for a group of Haitian migrants detained at Torrance County Detention Facility in New Mexico. In the nearly two weeks since advocates sent the first letter, detained Haitians' physical and mental health have deteriorated due to inadequate medical care, poor quality food and water, and reprehensibly arbitrary denials of their requests for release from detention.

Through the first letter, advocates succeeded in prompting ICE to grant pro bono attorney Allegra Love access to provide an in-person legal rights presentation to a group of detained Haitians. However, ICE has failed to comply with five additional demands, all of which are in line with minimal standards of access to legal support. The unmet demands include halting the deportation of Haitians until they have had an opportunity to consult with counsel and ensuring their access to confidential legal calls to counsel and to the pro bono legal hotline run by the El Paso Immigration Collaborative. ICE's refusal to meet these demands reveals its commitment to harming and deporting Black Haitian migrants at all costs, and amount to racist discrimination.

Haitians detained at Torrance report medical neglect and abuse including rashes, lack of access to medication and being kicked by a guard. Formal requests for release submitted by pro bono attorney Allegra Love on behalf of Haitians, including humanitarian parole requests and requests for release pursuant to Fraihat v. ICE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been either ignored or arbitrarily denied by ICE, in one case less than five minutes after submission. These conditions make clear that even if advocates' important demands for access to legal services are met, Haitians' wellbeing and legal right to a fair immigration process will continue to be denied until they are released from immigration detention.

Attorney Allegra Love and immigrant rights groups Innovation Law Lab, National Immigration Project, Haitian Bridge Alliance, the ACLU of New Mexico, and the American Immigration Council delivered both letters.


The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and support to community-based immigrant organizations, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens. NIPNLG utilizes impact litigation, advocacy, and public education to pursue its mission. Learn more at Follow NIPNLG on social media: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild on Facebook, @NIPNLG on Twitter and Instagram.