Even as the Obama administration battles to grant relief from deportation to millions of immigrants who are in the US without authorization, it is holding thousands of women and children seeking asylum from gang violence in Central America in conditions that disgrace America, and everything this country stands for, in places such as Artesia, New Mexico.

The latest article about the abuses being perpetrated against these refugees, many of whom have recognizable asylum claims under US law which would arguably have a good chance of success in a fair hearing, instead of the kangaroo court procedures described in the article in great detail, appeared online on February 4 in the New York Times Magazine February 8 edition under the title: The Shame of Americas Family Detention Camps.

The full, 24-page (online) article can (and must) be read at:


The following description of the Artesia detention center appears near the beginning of the article:

"As they opened the door to the trailer, Brown [a pro bono attorney] felt a blast of cold air. The front room was empty except for two small desks arranged near the center. A door in the back opened to reveal dozens of young women and children huddled together. Many were gaunt and malnourished, with dark circles under their eyes. 'The kids were really sick,' Brown told me later. 'A lot of the moms were holding them in their arms, even the older kids - holding them like babies and they're screaming and crying, and some of them are lying there listlessly.'"

The article continues:

"Brown took a seat, and a guard brought a woman to meet her. Brown asked her in Spanish how she ended up in detention. The woman explained that she had to escape from her home in El Salvador when gangs targeted her family. 'Her husband had just been murdered, and she and her kids found his body, Brown recalls. After he was murdered, the gang started coming after her and threatening to kill her.'"

What is happening with America's asylum laws? Where is the law requiring DHS to take the best interests of detained children into account being followed?

The same article states that DHS is now planning to open another family detention center, the same size as the one in Artesia, in Karnes County, Texas. Since some immigration opponents in Congress are so anxious to shut down the entire DHS, closing these two facilities would be a good place to begin.

However, in fairness to the DHS, I should also point out the bright side of these detention camps. They do not have gas chambers.