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Immigrants Tell Advocates They Lack Access To Medical Care, Legal Services In Artesia

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Members of a legal working group who visited the federal immigrant detention center in Artesia  say some of the women and young children housed there are reporting a lack of access to medical care and legal counsel. Tannia Esparza, executive director of the advocacy group Young Women United, was a member of the group that visited the detention facility.

“At first glance the facility seems to be in working order,” Esparza said. “But the women told us the conditions are not adequate.”

Esparza said children with moderate illnesses like fever or diarrhea were given water rather than medications and that many detainees did not speak with an attorney before going to immigration hearings.

She also said that immigration officials are expediting the deportations of pregnant detainees.

“It’s really affecting their psychological well-being and the well-being of their children,” Esparza said.

Representatives from Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not respond to repeated requests for comment.  

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.
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