Judge to inspect Border Patrol facility as trial over conditions continues

Migrant Centers

A metal fence marked with the US Border Patrol sign prevents people to get close to the barbed/concertina wire covering the US/Mexico border fence, in Nogales, Arizona, on February 9, 2019. (ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday said he would inspect a Tucson Border Patrol facility that migrants say is plagued by extreme overcrowding, freezing temperatures and unsafe conditions.

U.S. District Court Judge David C. Bury said he was going to inspect the main Tucson Sector facility after plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the conditions rested their case, leaving Wednesday afternoon open.

For years, migrants have complained about conditions at the holding facilities. The Tucson Sector comprises most of Arizona and includes eight stations where immigrants are held before they’re deported or turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In this Aug. 9, 2012, file photo, suspected illegal immigrants are transferred out of the holding area after being processed at the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Tucson, Ariz. A years-old lawsuit challenging detention conditions in several of the Border Patrol’s Arizona stations will go to trial Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, as the agency as a whole has come under fire following several migrant deaths. The lawsuit was first filed in June 2015 and applies to eight Border Patrol facilities in Arizona where attorneys say migrants are held in unsafe and inhumane conditions. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The lawsuit was filed in 2015. The next year, the judge issued a preliminary injunction requiring the Tucson Sector to provide clean mats and thin blankets to migrants held for longer than 12 hours and to allow them to clean themselves.

The agency also must turn over surveillance video and statistics such as time in custody.

The trial began Monday and affects only that sector, although similarly poor conditions have been reported at other Border Patrol facilities along the Southwest border.

The Border Patrol says the facilities are designed for short-term stays for adults.

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