Judge orders Border Patrol to give detained migrants mats and blankets

Agency has not done enough to provide dedicated sleeping space and sanitary conditions, judge says

Astrid Galvan
Thursday 20 February 2020 20:32
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Ken Cuccinelli announces the public charge rule for immigrants

A US judge in Arizona has issued a permanent order requiring the Border Patrol to provide clean mats and thin blankets to migrants who are apprehended within 12 hours of their booking

The judge sided with migrants who have long complained about inhumane and unsanitary conditions in some US Border Patrol facilities.

The ruling came weeks after the conclusion of a seven-day trial in which attorneys for migrants who sued in 2015 argued that the agency holds immigrants in extremely cold, overcrowded, unsanitary and inhumane conditions.

An image from US Border Patrol surveillance video shows a child crawling on the concrete floor near the bathroom area of a holding cell in Douglas Arizona, 2015

The order makes permanent a preliminary injunction that US district court judge David C Bury issued in 2016 that requires the Tucson Sector to provide clean mats and thin blankets to migrants held for longer than 12 hours and to allow them to clean themselves.

Judge Bury is also banning the use of bathrooms for sleeping, which came to light during the trial this year, when video footage was shown of a man trying to reach a bathroom but failing to because migrants were sleeping in them.

Although the lawsuit predates last year's surge in immigrant arrivals, it illustrates some of the challenges posed when migrants are detained, especially if they are children.

Judge Bury has been critical of the agency, saying it has done little to remedy issues, especially around overcrowding and migrants' inability to sleep.

Associated Press

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