Court Orders Release of Some Evidence of Arizona Border Patrol Detention Facilities

June 27, 2016

Washington D.C. – Today, a federal district court unsealed some of the photographs central to ongoing litigation challenging deplorable and unconstitutional conditions in Border Patrol detention facilities in the agency’s Tucson Sector. The court also allowed the Arizona Republic newspaper to intervene in the case to argue for the release of the documents.

The initial evidence released today is only a portion of the evidence submitted in support of a motion for preliminary injunction filed in December, with the government fighting the release of additional evidence remaining under seal. The injunction is based on compelling evidence of inhumane conditions in Tucson facilities—much of which was disclosed after the Court sanctioned Border Patrol for destroying video recordings from these facilities and failing to turn over other relevant documentation.

“Border Patrol’s treatment of men, women and children in its custody is simply inexcusable and their lack of transparency shows their desire to avoid any public oversight or accountability,” said Mary Kenney, senior staff attorney for the American Immigration Council.

“Every step the Government has taken in response to this lawsuit has been designed to delay this suit and hide the conditions present at these facilities,” said Louise Stoupe of Morrison & Foerster. “The Government should be using the resources they are wasting in court to provide basic human necessities to those in its custody.”

“Migrants detained in the Tucson sector have long suffered horrific conditions,” said Dan Pochoda, senior counsel for the ACLU of Arizona. “The Border Patrol continues to resist public transparency to enable continuation of detention operations that knowingly violate U.S. and international law as well as its own standards.”

“The images unsealed by the court are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Nora Preciado, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. "These abuses have been kept hidden for too long. As these initial images begin to reveal, we can no longer wait for meaningful and lasting reforms; the time is now.”

Jane Doe, et al. v. Johnson, et al. was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Attorneys on the case include Harold J. McElhinny, Colette Reiner Mayer, Louise C. Stoupe, Kevin M. Coles, Pieter S. de Ganon, and Elizabeth Balassone of Morrison & Foerster LLP; Nora Preciado, Linton Joaquin, and Karen C. Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center; Mary Kenney, and Melissa Crow of the American Immigration Council; Travis Silva of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area; and James Lyall and Dan Pochoda of ACLU of Arizona.

For additional links to complaint, FAQ, Fact Sheet on FOIA Data and more, click here.


For press inquiries, contact: 

Wendy Feliz, American Immigration Council, 202-507-7524, [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, NILC, 213-375-3149, [email protected]
Steve Kilar, ACLU of Arizona, 602-773-6007, [email protected]
Travis Silva, LCCR, 415-543-9697 ext. 207, [email protected]
Hayley Home, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 415-268-6021, [email protected]

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