NEWS RELEASE

March 13, 2014 

 

For Immediate Release 

 

AI Justice Sues Customs & Border Protection Today 

 

      

Contact:  Joseph Anderson, Esq. Director of Litigation, 786-454-8564  

janderson@aijustice.org

 

   

AI Justice Sues Customs & Border Protection
to Divulge Evidence of Human Rights Abuses on the Border


(Washington, D.C. - March 13, 2014) - Today Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court against Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to force CBP to disclose documents and records related to the abuse of immigrant women, children, and men held by CBP in detention facilities along the U.S. border.

 

"We have heard from more than a hundred immigrants who were held by our own government in the most inhumane conditions here in the US. Customs and Border Protection Agent kept adults and children in detention facilities under conditions that most Americans would believe only exist in third-world countries," said Joseph Anderson, Esq.,  Director of Litigation for AI Justice. "Men, women and children are locked up in extremely overcrowded cells, sometimes for weeks at a time, with no beds, no showers, no clean clothing, and little food or water. The lights are kept on 24/7, and the temperature is so cold that people's fingers and toes turn blue and their lips chap, crack, and bleed," said Anderson. "In July 2013 we asked CBP to produce records related to the use of these inhumane practices and got no response. We asked twice more for these government records without success. Today we filed suit in federal court to force CBP to produce these records that we believe will prove that CBP agents have used and continue to use illegal, inhumane tactics to coerce immigrants into agreeing to waive all their rights and be immediately deported" said Anderson.

 

"Some of the men and women held by CBP in these abusive conditions are bona fide asylum seekers who have every right to come to the U.S. seeking our protection and help. They include women fleeing violence and children whose families and lives have been threatened by gang violence," said Cheryl Little, Esq., Executive Director of AI Justice. "It is shameful that people who have already experienced tragic and devastating losses and come here seeking our help are instead subject to further trauma at the hands of our own government," said Little. "CBP should stop stonewalling and, not only produce the documents we have requested, but also conduct their own investigation and immediately put an end to the illegal and unconscionable treatment of vulnerable people."

 

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AI Justice is a non-profit law and advocacy firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants.  In Florida and on a national level, we champion the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocate for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serve as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speak for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.

 

AI Justice achieves outstanding results both systemically and for individual clients by employing a unique combination of free legal services, impact litigation, policy reform, and public education at local, state, and national levels. Grounded in real-world, real-people experience, AI Justice's direct work with immigrant clients informs its broader policy work.

Based in Miami, AI Justice was founded in 1996 as the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) by its current executive director, Cheryl Little, Esq., and two Catholic nuns, Sr. Maureen Kelleher RSHM and Sr. Catherine Cassidy HM. Beginning with ten employees and a $400,000 budget, it has grown to a staff of 31 and a $2.5 million budget. In 2012, AI Justice opened a Washington, D.C. office in order to expand its policy influence. It is the rare organization that works both on the frontline of human rights in Florida as well as nationwide.  Its national advocacy efforts are bolstered by its bi-partisan allies.

 

 Please visit www.aijustice.org for more information.

  

Americans for Immigrant Justice

3000 Biscayne Blvd. Ste. 400

Miami, FL  33137