Below is an embargoed press release on the basic contours of who will qualify for Executive Action:
Eligible immigrants will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization if they come forward and pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, pay a fee, and show that they are:
A parent of US citizens or lawful permanent residents on the date of the announcement, are not enforcement priorities and have been in the US since January 1, 2010, or
An individual who arrived in the US before turning 16 years old and before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today
You must have been in the US for at least 5 years to qualify for these programs. These executive actions will not benefit immigrants who recently crossed the border (defined as those who entered the country after January 1, 2014)
October 31, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY BRYAN JOHNSON REGARDING THE SEXUAL ABUSE AND RAPE OF A YOUNG CHILD IN THE ARTESIA DETENTION FACILITY
My client was sexually abused and raped in the Artesia Detention Facility. He is a young child. Although the child told ICE about the abuse, ICE failed to report the first incident of sexual abuse to the police.
When the child told ICE about the second time he was abused, there was a witness to the abuse. ICE called the local police, who never interviewed my client or his mother.
Although my client was sexually abused and raped while he was in the Artesia Detention Facility during July and August of this year and ICE knew that he had been sexually abused in the Detention Facility, ICE refused to release my client and his mother from that Detention Facility.
Even when a request for humanitarian parole was made, ICE denied the request and instead demanded that the immigration judge refuse to release our clients at any bond amount.
ICE tried to deport a child victim of a rape – a rape that happened while he was in ICE custody.
ICE knew that the abuser harmed our client and had reason to know that the abuser also harmed other children. Inexplicably, ICE continued to allow the abuser to interact with children.
The Obama administration must immediately stop their detention of children in unsafe and inhumane conditions. Law enforcement must fully investigate reported abuses from the Artesia Detention Center. The Obama administration must suspend all deportations of potential child victims or potential witnesses from the Artesia Detention Center.
We have represented 3 families that were detained by the Obama administration in Artesia, New Mexico and Karnes City, Texas.
Through hard work and persistence, we were able to get all of our family clients out of jail. The harm done to every child is palpable.
Our first client, which was a young mother and her 14 month old boy born in April of 2013, was severely ill for most of the 72 days that he was detained in Artesia. He was even rushed to the hospital at one point, staying for 3 days and treated for pneumonia.
The doctors at the hospital made it clear that Mateo should “Avoid people with colds & flu.” Yet after his discharge, he was returned to the jail immediately to be exposed to dozens of other children with colds.
Not surprisingly, Mateo became very sick again. Only days after he was discharged from the hospital after being treated for pneumonia, it appears his lungs became infected again as a cough developed with a fever. He also had diarrhea, again. On August 7, his fever spiked to 103.8 and a nurse practitioner called the doctor to recommend admission to the hospital.
Mateo was not admitted to the hospital. Instead, he was kept in Artesia and despite having weakened immune system was continually exposed to dozens of other children with colds. His fever persisted for up until August 14, but he never fully recovered until after he was released from detention in early September.
When Mateo was first incarcerated in Artesia, he weighed in at 21 pounds.
Before he fled with his mother to the United States, he weighed 25 pounds. The 6 day incarceration in freezing cold holding cells with insufficient food took a toll. He continued to lose weight in Artesia.
The illnesses he suffered took stunted his growth.
At one point, he fell all the way to 19 pounds, putting him in the 11th percentile for his age. He did not gain any weight until August 28 when he weighed 23 pounds.
In fact, doctors at Artesia noted with concern on July 21 that Mateo had not gained any weight for 21 consecutive days. Indeed, he actually lost weight and did not gain any weight for 60 consecutive days. On August 25, 2014, he weighed only 20.6 pounds yet ICE refused to release him and his mother despite our numerous requests.
When Mateo went to the pediatrician after being released in September, he weighed just 22 pounds. He has gained a significant amount of weight since he got out of jail.
Let me be unequivocal: the Obama administration harmed Mateo by exposing him to an extraordinary risk of infection through incarceration in a jail with hundreds of other children.
The Obama administration harmed him even further when, against the orders of Doctors at the Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, they exposed him to other sick children immediately after he was discharged from the hospital after being treated for pneumonia.
Mateo suffered so much while he was in Artesia. He was in almost constant pain, could hardly breathe, and was not growing like a normal baby his age should.
Yet the Obama administration continues to harm hundreds of children in Artesia and Karnes City against well settled child welfare laws.
KARNES: FILTH AND NEGLECT
Our second family client included a 19 month old boy born in January of 2013. Just like Mateo, he became very sick after being placed in the Karnes City jail. He was admitted to the medical clinic housed within the jail for approximately 5 days.
According to his mother, his fever reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit on three consecutive days. She reported that the clinic was freezing cold and that her son was shivering the whole time.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, any fever that goes above 105 degrees Fahrenheit is a life-threatening medical emergency. Yet the baby was not brought to a hospital.
At times, guards refused to supply our client with diapers for her son, creating a health hazard for the child and others around him.
After treatment in the clinic, he was put back in the jail and, like Mateo, again exposed to dozens of children with colds. Fortunately, he did not become acutely ill again. However, he barely ate any food in his 60 days of detention in Karnes. His mother stated that the food was “horrible” and her son only drank breast milk for the entirety of his stint in jail.
Although we do not have the medical records on hand yet, it is clear that he lost a significant percentage of his body weight due to illness and lack of nutrititon in Karnes.
Before he and his mom fled El Salvador, he fit into 3T size clothing. Both his mom and his aunt reported that he was “chunky” in El Salvador. His clothing size now is that of a 12 month old baby. When I saw him this Thursday right after he was released from jail, my first impression was that he was very small.
In this photo taken yesterday, the little boy, who is now 21 months old, is wearing the same shirt and pants that he wore on his way to the United States from El Salvador:
As you can see, the little boy’s pants are falling off of him because he lost so much weight in his time in the Karnes City jail.
In the next photo, he is wearing clothes that are meant for a 12 month old:
For those that are unfamiliar with clothing sizes for young children, this boy dropped 3 sizes from 3T down through 2T and 18 months to 12 months.
His mother is not sure how much weight he lost, but she states that he lost 4 pounds at a minimum and possibly more.
His mom stated that her son was very sad for much of the time in jail in Karnes.
This boy was harmed by his time in jail because of illness and inedible food. He should have been growing. Instead, he was shrinking.
If a parent or legal guardian refused to feed their children for 60 days by withholding food, that parent would be committing child neglect, at a minimum, and possibly abuse because of the imminent risk to the life of the child.
Where is the accountability for such grave acts of abuse and neglect of babies? Does the President get a free pass? The answer so far: Yes.
As of September 26, 2014, ICE appears to be in dire need of additional medical staff at the Artesia jail. Here are the openings if you are in desperate need of a job: pediatrician, family practice physician, psychiatrist, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, vaccination registered nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, radiology technician, pharmacist, and pharmacist technician.
Note the sickening marketing pitch in some of the job postings:
Are you interested in caring for displaced immigrants in New Mexico? We are currently seeking a Family Medicine physician to work on a contract in Artesia, New Mexico for a 6-12 month caring for displaced immigrant families.
Has anyone actually investigated whether Artesia has had sufficient medical staff to care for several hundred women and children? I do not think so.
The Obama administration is operating illegal jails in New Mexico and Texas that put the lives of children at risk of serious illness, injury, or death.
The reasoning is simple: the new jails opened in Artesia, New Mexico and Karnes City, Texas violate important child care regulations by exposing children to an extraordinary risk of becoming seriously ill.
In Texas, a Child Day Care Center cannot admit a child to its care if the child has a temperature above 101 degrees which is accompanied by behavior changes or other signs or symptoms of illness. Day care operators also cannot admit a child if they show signs of severe illness such as lethargy, abnormal breathing, uncontrolled diarrhea, two or more vomiting episodes in 24 hours…or other signs that the child may be severely ill.
In New Mexico, the rules are virtually the same.
Yet in Karnes City, Texas and Artesia, New Mexico, sick children sleep in the same room as healthy children. The kids share the same space and cannot be sent home to prevent systemic outbreaks of viral and bacterial infections.
It is no wonder that my 17-month old Client, Mateo, had a high fever for 17 straight days in Artesia, New Mexico, resulting in his hospitalization to be treated for pneumonia. After only 2 and a half days in the hospital, Mateo was returned to Artesia, where he became sick again with a high fever for 13 days straight.
There have been sporadic reports regarding the fact that the child jails are not licensed by the States of New Mexico and Texas. This was not an oversight, it was intentional. The Obama administration cannot operate jails for young children and babies without running afoul of important regulations regarding the care of children.
In a detention environment, it would be impossible to effectively insulate the sick from healthy children given that everyone is locked up in the same facility and that children must be given room to play.
As a result, the lives of children and babies are being put at grave risk, Forget policy. This is illegal and must be stopped.
I close my eyes and see a little girl, only 4 years old, crying hysterically.
A man, with fury in his eyes, approaches her and places a hot clothing iron on her hand.
The girl screams and screams and screams.
The man then shoves the girl with such force that her head hits a table, knocking her unconscious for a long time.
Her mother, quietly sobbing, holds her daughter tight but is powerless to protect her from her own father.
I open my eyes and realize that this little girl, a survivor of torture, has been in jail in Artesia, New Mexico for more than 2 months.
This girl and her mother, also a victim of brutal abuse over several years, were days from being deported back to the place they fled just months ago.
Fortunately, we have temporarily stopped the girl and her mother from being deported to certain harm and possible death.
But how many other little girls and boys will not be lucky. How many will be sent back to torture, to a living hell?
Despite irrefutable evidence that most women, children, and babies jailed in Artesia and Karnes are eligible for asylum, the Obama administration is moving forward with plans to open a massive (2400 beds) child and baby detention center in Texas.
Who jails babies eligible for asylum or even protection under the convention against torture?
The Obama administration’s capacity for committing horrible acts in the name of perceived political goals is breathtaking and must be stopped.
For starters, we should insist that the Barack Obama and Jeh Johnson be charged with child abuse and neglect crimes, which they continue to commit with complete impunity.