Today we sent this formal complaint to ICE demanding access to legal counsel for immigrants at Karnes. For over a month now ICE, working in cahoots with the Geo Group (a private prison company profiting from detaining immigrants), created obstacles to prevent individuals detained at Karnes from accessing our free legal services. ICE and GEO created these barriers because they said providing legal access was too resource intensive for GEO.
This attack on access to counsel has resulted in an extraordinarily high number of women failing their credible and reasonable fear interviews because they cannot freely access our legal services. These interviews are one of the most important steps to start the asylum process.
ICE is only able to do this because they have the close cooperation of Geo Group, who received a $38 million dollar contract to run the detention center in 2014. Since then we understand they received $15 million dollars a year to manage the shelter.
Last week ICE pulled one of our clients into a room, checked to make sure no one else was there, and told her to sign deportation papers. The client, who’s name we are withholding to protect her from retaliation, was told by the ICE agent:
She is a strong woman. She didn’t believe their horrific lies.
The detention and mistreatment of immigrants needs to end. We’ll fight for that, and until this happens we need to provide legal counsel to migrants, and ICE must adhere to the standards they THEMSELVES have published.
We demand that ICE restore previous legal visitation practices so that we can provide legal counsel to our community without unnecessary and harmful barriers in place.
We need your help.
Can you call Deborah Achim, Deputy Field Office Director of the Karnes Detention Center at (210) 283-4723 and demand she restore legal access for individuals detained at the Karnes Detention Center?