Cibola County Correctional Center

fronteristxs and Anonymous, Untitled

When President Trump and ICE got in on the act of separating families and locking kids in cages, it spurred a public outcry. Millions of people were appalled that the land of the free would treat people in such a manner—especially people who were counting on the United States to provide safety, as they were often fleeing life-threatening situations. As usual in this country, the news cycle changed, and a majority of the public stopped talking about it. Then COVID-19 came, and the call to release detainees has picked up again, a call to save lives, a call to treat people like humans. As the pandemic continues to dominate our lives, the threat of coronavirus spreading in detention centers became a reality. What's not real: the response from ICE and the federal government. In episode 5, we don’t just look the dire situation for the people, but ask what, if anything, can be done about it.

Ed Williams / KUNM

Nationally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement held 42,000 people in custody on average on any given day last year. People leaving ICE detention often say conditions were bad, and they were abused or didn’t get enough to eat. Some New Mexico lawmakers are carrying a bill that might create a window into ICE facilities here.

Alma Rosa Silva-Banuelos

Central American transgender women who are seeking asylum in the U.S. are sent by immigration officials to a detention pod in rural New Mexico. This year, volunteers from many organizations here came together to help them. The work started as kind of a scramble, but over time, quick coordination has smoothed out.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Transgender asylum-seekers are detained in a special unit in New Mexico’s Cibola County Correctional Center. A Santa Fe legal group is working with transgender people from the new caravan at the border to try and minimize their time in lockup here.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

People detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement around the country describe harsh conditions and even abuse inside facilities. Transgender women seeking asylum in the United States are often held by ICE in a separate pod at a detention center near Grants, New Mexico. On Friday, July 27, advocates saw a small victory when some women were released.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Dozens of transgender people seeking asylum were part of the caravan that crossed the border about a month ago. One woman was transferred to a detention facility in New Mexico, and she died days later. Demonstrators gathered at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in Albuquerque Wednesday afternoon to march, chant and demand answers.