Human Rights Watch to Investigate Immigration Detention Centers Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

Lead Photo: U.S. Border Patrol Houses Unaccompanied Minors In Detention Center. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
U.S. Border Patrol Houses Unaccompanied Minors In Detention Center. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
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Subpar conditions at detention centers, increased numbers of families trying to cross the border, and the Obama Administration-approved ICE raids meant to remove Central American mothers and children, are just a few examples of why the topic of immigration is at a critical moment. On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch announced it will be conducting a series of investigations in Mexico and the United States, especially when it comes to how both countries deal with children and Central American refugees.

José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas Division, said the group plans to identify whether or not Mexico has designated centers for detained immigrants that keeps them separate from criminals, according to El Diario. “Our very preliminary impression is that these facilities do not exist in parts of Mexico, or they are highly insufficient,” he said.

In 2014, the Obama Administration declared a humanitarian crisis after a record number of undocumented immigrants arrived. In December 2015, the Washington Post reported that “unaccompanied minors are crossing the U.S. Southwest border in growing numbers again.” It was around this time that the U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement was gearing up to raid the homes of hundreds of Central American families – those who were ordered to be removed by an immigration judge, despite having fled gang violence in their native countries.

As repatriation of Central Americans continue, the United States has warned its citizens of the high levels of danger in Central America. Human Rights Watch wants to find proof that immigrants are fleeing for their life, and that deporting them is unfair. The group hopes to successfully argue that there “are people who qualify for refugee status” and “who cannot be deported back to danger,” because then they can argue that the United States is guilty of violating its commitments to protect refugees.