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Let’s Talk Asylum Seeker Detention

Sandor Csudai
Creative Commons

Let’s Talk New Mexico 5/27 8am: Asylum seekers who arrive in the U.S. are often fleeing violence at the hands of police or gangs in their home countries. However, once they arrive in our country, they continue to face the threat of violence, including while in detention. A lawsuit recently filed against a private detention center here in New Mexico claims guards sprayed asylum seekers with a chemical agent to stop a peaceful hunger strike protesting living conditions in the facility. International law says states must protect asylum seekers and refugees, not harm them. On this week’s Let’s Talk New Mexico, we will  be talking about this lawsuit against CoreCivic in Torrance County, and what these private detention centers mean for New Mexico. We will talk with an immigration lawyer working on this case, an activist pushing to end private prisons in New Mexico, and a historian about how immigrant and asylum seeker detention became increasingly violent over the years. We will also hear from women working at Mexico’s borders to provide aid to  people trying to get to the U.S. and those who have been deported back to Mexico and Central America.


And we want to hear from you. Did you or someone you know come to the US to escape a dangerous situation in another country?What was the experience like?  Do you think private immigration detention should be eliminated in New Mexico?  Join the conversation, email us at LetsTalk@KUNM.org, or call in during the show at 277-5866.


Jasmine McGee, lawyer for theNew Mexico Immigrant Law Center

 César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Professor of Law at the University of Denver and author ofCrimmigration Law and Migrating to Prison

 Margaret Brown Vega, an anthropologist andsocial-justice advocate in New Mexico

Rebecca Eichler, immigration lawyer and human rights advocate working in Mexico and Central America


Yasmin Khan covers worker's rights in New Mexico, with a focus on Spanish-speaking residents. She is finishing her Ph.D. in human geography and women & gender studies at the University of Toronto where she studies refugee and humanitarian aid dynamics in Bangladesh. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from UNM. Yasmin was director of The Americas Program, an online U.S. foreign policy magazine based in Mexico City, and was a freelance journalist in Bolivia. She covered culture, immigration, and higher education for the Santa Fe New Mexican and city news for the Albuquerque Journal.
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