Detention of immigrant families is unsafe, immigrant rights lawyers say

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By: Seth Robbins/Associated Press

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Immigrant rights lawyers say families caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are often detained for long periods and that their detention is unsafe and violates a ban on holding children in secure facilities.

The government told U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in California last week that families are being detained for only a few weeks.

But in a filing late Thursday, the immigration lawyers counter that many women and children are detained for a month or more, with poor medical care, while immigration officials delay processing and impede access to legal help.

The lawyers have asked the judge to implement her earlier ruling calling for the families’ quick release.

Detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania hold about 1,400 people, mostly Central Americans seeking asylum after fleeing violence at home.