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Immigrant detention conditions ruled unconstitutional in case originating in the Obama era

There were issues even before President Trump

Scott Olson/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that immigrant detention conditions at a Customs and Border Protection holding facility Tucson, Arizona, were unconstitutional — revealing some severe issues with detention conditions that date back to the Obama administration, according to Newsweek.

U.S. District Judge David Bury ruled that conditions at the Tucson CBP facility were notably worse than conditions for criminal detention centers around the state. The case originated in 2015.

"The evidence is undisputed that conditions of confinement at Tucson Sector CBP stations are substantially worse than conditions afforded criminal detainees at the Santa Cruz County jail or other jail facilities, where detainees are medically screened by medical professionals; have a bed with cloth sheets, blankets, and pillows, and an opportunity for uninterrupted sleep; have clean clothing, including second layers for warmth; showers, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and warm meals with a variety of food choices, including fruits and vegetables, accommodating food allergies and religious beliefs," Bury wrote.

"Likewise, the conditions of confinement for civil immigration detainees similarly improve once they are transferred from CBP holding cells to detention centers operated by the United States Marshals, ICE, ERO, Health and Human Services (HHS), and other immigration detention agencies and organization," he said.

Detainees at the Tucson center were subject to overcrowding so severe that it was sometimes impossible for them to sleep even while being detained for days. Other times, detainees had to sleep in bathrooms. The medical examinations were not done using a standard questionnaire created by medical professionals, leading to insufficient examinations by CBP agents with no medical training.

Going forward, immigrants won't be allowed to be detained at the Tucson facility longer than 48 hours.

"Today's monumental victory ensures that CBP cannot hold migrants in the Tucson Sector over 48 hours without providing conditions that meet basic human needs and serves as an example of the standards that should apply in all CBP facilities," said Mary Kenney, directing attorney of litigation with the American Immigration Council.

One last thing…
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