Unconstitutional Conditions in Border Patrol Facilities

Newly released graphic images offer a rare glimpse at the unconstitutional conditions that men, women, and children are subjected to in notoriously problematic Border Patrol facilities.

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The federal district court in Tucson, Arizona, has released revealing documents and photographic evidence submitted as part of our petition for preliminary relief in the case of Doe v. Johnson, a legal challenge to detention conditions in the short-term facilities, commonly known as “hieleras,” or iceboxes, in the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector. These photographs illustrate the deplorable and inhumane conditions in which Border Patrol keeps tens of thousands of men, women, and children each year.

Above is a sample of the photographs released by the court. These photographs are stills from surveillance video taken at these facilities. Descriptions of the horrific conditions by detainees can be found at www.nilc.org/jdoe1vjohnsondecs/.

Expert witnesses who filed declarations about the conditions in these facilities include a forensic sanitarian with almost 50 years of experience in corrections, a medical doctor with 28 years of experience as director/medical director for jail health services, and a former corrections administrator with nearly 35 years of experience working in and administering adult and juvenile institutions.

On Aug. 17, 2016, we and our partners filed a motion for preliminary injunction and issued a joint statement about the photos that the court released. More information about the case is available at www.nilc.org/jdoe1vjohnson/.