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New Mexico Lawyers Decry Expedited Deportations

Steev Hise via Flickr

Some New Mexico immigration lawyers are speaking out in opposition to the Obama administration’s proposal to expedite deportation proceedings for Central American women and children, some of whom are being detained in Artesia in southern New Mexico.  

The State Bar of New Mexico Immigration Law Section released a letter today explaining that they are disturbed that the Obama administration’s response to the surge of Central American migrants crossing the southern border is to try to get Congress to let the administration ignore laws that protect unaccompanied children in order to deport people faster.

Pamela Muñoz is Chair of the Immigration Law Section. She’s also representing women who are being held in the Artesia facility.

“Most women and children detained at Artesia have very limited access to counsel," Muñoz explained, "and a lot of times we are hired at a point where it’s too late to properly prepare them for their hearing, or to advocate for the limited possibilities of review that they have on their legal cases."

The state bar is asking legislators to make sure that immigrant children have appropriate legal representation, as well as access to adequate shelter, food, clothing and medical care.

Muñoz says the letter has been delivered to New Mexico Senators Heinrich and Udall, as well as members of New Mexico’s House delegation.

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.