Haynes and Boone Featured in News Reports About Latest Texas Immigration Hearing

09/09/2019

A team of Haynes and Boone, LLP lawyers and counsel from the Texas Civil Rights Project, Refugio Del Rio Grande and individual lawyers are representing asylum seekers who have sued U.S. Customs and Border Protection, seeking improved detention conditions.

Haynes and Boone lawyers were featured in news coverage about last week’s federal court hearing in which asylum seekers testified about the inhumane treatment they have received in Texas immigration detention centers.

Here are excerpts from the news reports :

Texas Lawyer

"They can’t treat detainees in an unconstitutional fashion and hide behind a claim that these are designed for short-term use, when detainees in our case have been detained weeks or months,” said Haynes and Boone associate Brent Beckert, a pro bono lawyer for the migrants.

If the migrant men win a preliminary injunction, it would mean that in four South Texas counties, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol would have to give detainees access to lawyers and either drastically improve conditions in short-term immigration detention facilities known as “hieleras” or iceboxes, or stop keeping people there longer than 72 hours.

“It would be a big development for the region. It would also put other sectors of the border patrol on notice that they can’t treat detainees in an unconstitutional fashion and hide behind a claim that these are designed for short-term use when detainees in our case have been detained weeks or months,” [said Beckert.]

Haynes and Boone Counsel Luis Campos added, “There are legal mechanisms for transfer to ICE, or release under parole or release pursuant to bond or release with an ankle monitor.”

The plaintiffs’ 67-page motion for preliminary injunction in Rivera Rosa v. McAleenan details the conditions migrants face in Customs and Border Patrol custody. They sleep standing up, packed side-by-side in small cells. They are fed only bologna sandwiches, leading to constipation. There are jugs of highly chlorinated water that is too smelly to drink, and migrants must share cups.

The motion claims the temperature is between 64 to 67 degrees, and officers confiscate detainees’ clothes and fail to provide new clothing, leaving people—even infants—shivering. No one can wash laundry, wash their hands, shower, or even have steady access to toilets. People get sick frequently, according to the motion.

A team of Haynes and Boone pro bono attorneys and counsel from the Texas Civil Rights Project, Refugio Del Rio Grande and individual lawyers represent the migrant men. Seeking to represent a class of asylum seekers, they ultimately hope for habeas corpus relief to gain release from what they allege are deplorable conditions in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, said their second amended petition. The plaintiffs also alleged a lack of access to any attorneys and improprieties in how the government interviews asylum seekers to determine if they’re eligible for asylum.

“It causes some detainees to become so desperate that they relinquish their legal rights and accept removal, simply to escape the unbearable conditions,” their petition said.

To read the full article, click here. (Subscription required)

ABC KVEO.TV

16 separate cases coming together for one preliminary injunction. In short. They’re looking for change in the procedures CBP takes when detaining asylum seekers and migrants along the Rio Grande Valley.

Attorney with Haynes and Boone, Brent Beckert says, “What we’re seeking exactly, the requested relief would be to either fix the conditions in these facilities . . . or alternatively get them out of CBP custody within 72 hours.”

Inside the court, the defense explaining the nature of treatment, detailing the procedures for restroom use showers, blankets, and the use of phone calls.

To read the article or watch a replay of the TV interview, click here.

Texas Monthly

Texas Monthly also covered the hearing in an article titled “Migrants Testify to Sleeping Near Feces and Urine in South Texas Border Patrol Holding Facilities,” interviewing a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project.

To read the full article, click here.

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