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Unequal Outcomes: Most ICE Detainees Held In Rural Areas Where Deportation Risks Soar
"This message comes from n._p._r. Sponsor xfinity some things are slow like a snail races. Other things are fast like xfinity x. by get get fast speeds even when everyone is online working to make wifi simple easy awesome more at xfinity dot com restrictions apply u._s. Immigration and customs enforcement needs more space to house undocumented immigrants and increasingly the agency is finding it in rural regions and new analysis by n._p._r. Indicates a majority of detainees are held in rural areas but as n._p._r.'s yuki noguchi reports those detained in far flung places also have a much harder time finding lawyers and are far more likely to be deported. It took ten and a half months for you. L. alonzo to meet with a lawyer alonzo had turned himself over to immigration officials in laredo texas seeking asylum from cuba last october since then he's been detained in two rural facilities i in louisiana and now in adams tmz county mississippi about a two hour drive from baton rouge alonzo's wife. Madonna's rodriguez is a permanent u._s. resident. She lives in southern florida with their two children the n._b._a. N._b._a. leary very far from anything. She says too far to afford hiring. A private attorney. Lack of legal help is one of many challenges for undocumented undocumented immigrants and an even bigger problem for those detained in remote locations yet. Ice is adding detention facilities far from cities over half fifty. The two percent of detainees are held in rural areas according to n._p._r.'s analysis of ice data and that rate is increasing. Liz martinez is a board member of advocacy z. Group freedom for immigrants. It's very concerning trend that immigration detention is moving to rural areas remote areas where it makes it so much harder for a person in detention to get the support that they need detainees in urban areas or at least four times more likely to find attorneys to represent them. According to a two thousand fifteen university of pennsylvania ovadia law review study last year the southern poverty law center sudeiss and its parent agency the department of homeland security the civil rights group alleges the government is deliberately liberally detaining people in rural areas far from legal resources is which currently detains nearly fifty six thousand people declined comment on that case in in an emailed statement an ice spokesman says the agency looks at airports healthcare and legal resources when selecting facilities he also says detainees have access to phones and video teleconferencing and can meet with lawyers during visiting hours but many immigration attorneys complained rural facilities lack necessary resources there aren't enough. The phones are translators. Call connections are poor. Visiting hours are too restrictive and it's simply too far to travel. You'll alonzo's wife has been able to visit him. Only only once alonzo was recently diagnosed with lung cancer which makes the weight more excruciating. He eventually found a lawyer one of the rare detainees with free three representation but his wife says his asylum request and to request for parole have been denied grumpy what more could a wife with a sick husband one other seven to be with him at the very least i want to offer him my support and for my children's offer support one of the key reasons detainees are held in remote regions appears to be the money cheap labor cheap land. Lauren rich eisen is acting director of the brennan center justice program. She says many rural areas viewed prisons as job. Engines hundreds hundreds of new facilities were built in the nineteen ninety. S inmate population peaked then declined leaving lots of empty beds. Ice is now contracting with those rural prisons. It needs those beds as it continues to detain more immigrants. Just last week is arrested. Nearly seven hundred workers at food processing plants in mississippi loyola university law professor andrew armstrong says she sees that happening across louisiana win. The criminal justice reforms were enacted that left empty not beds that were ripe for contracting with ice. Those contracts can be lucrative. The state pays local sheriff's twenty four dollars and thirty nine cents a day to house an inmate eight by comparison ice pays five times that an average daily rate of more than one hundred twenty six dollars is confirmed it recently opened eight new detention and facilities seven of which are in louisiana all but one of them are in sparsely-populated areas. Lisa lehner is director of americans for immigrant justice. She represents detainees in glades county florida about one hundred miles from miami. Glades is the state's fourth least populated county surrounded by acres of sugarcane infield. I've never seen immigration attorney up there. You've never seen one never detainees there. She says are tweeted like hardened. Criminals glades aids has been the subject of a number of complaints and lawsuits they allege everything from misuse of pepper spray and solitary confinement to religious persecution later argues conditions are worse in rural facilities in part because fewer people can observe what's happening by contrast. She says when a brooklyn new york ice facility lost not for a week during a cold snap in january there was an outcry and if there's going in and out you would imagine that the people who are detaining immigrants are going to behave in a more careful way. It's not just that treatment might differ immigration courts in rural areas denied. Many more asylum cases sending detainees back back to their home countries. N._p._r.'s analysis of research from syracuse university found judges in rural immigration courts denied eighty seven percent of asylum cases compared to just over half an urban courts. Romi learner is associate director of the immigration clinic at the university of miami's law school. It is an issue because it means if you got a bad bucks. I think the team isn't a certain facility then you're almost guaranteed to be deported mississippi detainee. You'll alonzo hopes to beat those odds. He's appealing feeling his case for asylum and hopes to reunite with his family. You can gucci n._p._r. News this message comes from n._p._r. Sponsor comcast business gig fueled network solutions that help businesses go beyond the expected to do the extraordinary ordinary comcast business beyond fast learn more at comcast business dot com.