Central American immigrants living in a converted border patrol training center in Artesia are relaying stories of children losing significant amounts of weight and of sick kids not getting medical care for conditions like fever and diarrhea, Ed Williams of KUNM, an NMID media parter, reports.
As Williams tells listeners, immigrants are resorting to secretive letter-passing to inform attorneys who are working with them about the conditions inside the immigration facility:
Christina Brown is part of a group of attorneys working on pro-bono asylum cases for the Artesia detainees. She says immigrant women there have given the legal team over a dozen handwritten letters that describe a lack of medical care in the facility–often hiding the letters in their bras and slipping them to the lawyers on the sly because of fear of retaliation from authorities.
“They can’t get any medicine in there,” Brown said. “They’ve been giving them Tylenol, it actually took a congressman to come and intervene to get some antibiotics for a kid that was very sick the other day. All of our letters say the same. We have about 15 of them, and everyday we hear more stories.”
These kinds of problems—lack of medical care and improper nutrition—would be illegal in a state-licensed childcare facility. And lawyers working in Artesia say they’re illegal in the immigrant detention center too, if they’re happening.