Eight teenage male immigrant detainees filed a federal lawsuit on April 3, claiming they were beaten and subjected to other excessive force at a privately-run 122-bed detention facility in San Antonio, Tex. The plaintiffs from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cuba are being represented in the suit by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. According to the lawsuit, the beatings were so severe that some of the boys required hospital treatment for their injuries, and at least one boy was knocked unconscious. Complaints to facility administrators about the abuse were ignored. Officials at the detention center, officially called the Abraxas Hector Garza Treatment Center, also denied the boys access to attorneys by unnecessarily transferring them to other facilities before scheduled lawyer meetings, the lawsuit alleges.
The detention center is run by Houston-based Cornell Companies Inc. under a contract with the US Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is responsible for the care of unaccompanied minors found to be without status in the US. The suit names Cornell Companies, numerous employees of the facility, federal officials and San Antonio police. It does not name ORR itself because the plaintiffs have not filed or exhausted their administrative claims against the agency, a requirement that must be fulfilled before the federal government can be sued. (Texas RioGrande Legal Aid press release, April 2; AP, April 3)
From Immigration News Briefs, April 11
See our last post on the politics of immigration.