Authorities in Artesia in New Mexico say that the controversial detention facility for families is still holding 479 undocumented immigrants, with more on the way. Civil rights advocates have put the much-criticized facility under a great deal of scrutiny, accusing it of mistreating immigrants and violating due process.
Last week 68 immigrants were released from the facility, with 14 deported out of the United States, according to Artesia mayor Phillip Burch. The facility in Artesia was the first in the United States to be opened specifically for the purpose of housing undocumented immigrants from Central America, who had been entering the country in unprecedented numbers earlier in 2014. This influx has fallen considerably over the last few months, however, with just 2,424 unaccompanied immigrant minors apprehended trying to cross the border last month after a high of 10,622 four months ago in June.
324 immigrants have so far been deported from the Artesia facility, with immigration lawyers being told by a government official in a confidential meeting last week that the facility is likely to stay open into the summer of 2014, according to the Associated Press.
Advocates for immigrant’s rights say that immigrant mothers and children are being held by the center for extended periods of time, while others are being fast-tracked for deportation in violation of due process. Another large detention facility for new immigrant families has since been opened in Karnes County in Texas.