Judge Says Conditions at U.S. Border Holding Cells Violated the Constitution

by | Feb 20, 2020


A federal judge in Arizona has ruled that conditions at U.S. border holding cells operated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency violated the Constitution.

In a case first launched in 2015 over conditions at Tucson sector holding facilities, U.S. District Judge David Bury said on Wednesday that the conditions migrants and asylum seekers have had to face under CBP custody have been “substantially worse than detainees face upon commitment to either a civil immigration detention facility or even a criminal detention facility, like a jail or prison.”

“The Court finds that the conditions of detention in CBP holding cells, especially those that preclude sleep over several nights, are presumptively punitive and violate the Constitution,” he said

The court, Bury noted, heard how plaintiffs complained of overcrowding, with cold, hard concrete floors and bench surfaces, cold temperatures, no blankets or mats and unsanitary cell conditions, precluding sleeping.

It also heard that cell conditions were unsanitary, with a lack of waste receptacles, “insufficient housekeeping,” a lack of personal hygiene products and shower facilities, as well as insufficient access to food and water.

Bury also said the court was concerned about the lack of a universal medical questionnaire designed by medical professionals, particularly since medical screenings were being “performed by agents without any medical training.”

No, see, but it’s the immigrants who are the barbarians.

About Scott Horton

Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of Antiwar.com, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He's the author of the 2021 book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, the 2017 book, Fool's Errand:Time to End the War in Afghanistan, editor of the 2019 book The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019 and the 2022 book Hotter Than The Sun: Time to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. He’s conducted more than 5,800 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Larisa Alexandrovna Horton.

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