ALBUQUERQUE, NM--Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico and the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center filed a Habeas petition demanding the release of Petitioner B., a political activist from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who was beaten, tortured, and imprisoned for his opposition to the current dictatorship there. In 2016, after DRC police murdered two of his compatriots in front of his eyes, B. escaped police custody and fled across the Atlantic to South America. From there he made his way up to the El Paso port of entry and requested asylum in the United States. Petitioner B., now in deteriorating health, has been incarcerated in civil immigration for a year without a bond hearing. He is incarcerated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Cibola County Correctional Center.

“Our client risked everything to resist the brutal dictatorship that has a stranglehold on his home country,” said New Mexico Immigrant Law Center attorney Rebekah Wolf. “America has long been a refuge for the politically oppressed, and our client deserves better than to suffer abuse and neglect in one of our country’s worst run for-profit prisons.”

B's latent TB progressed to full Tuberculosis disease while in detention. Despite this serious condition, the detention facility has failed to provide him with adequate medical care. Facility staff consistently fail to provide necessary medications to treat the condition which has caused his health to deteriorate. At one point, Petitioner B. was placed in solitary confinement without explanation for two weeks--five days of which he was cruelly forced to lie on the cold concrete floor without clothes.

The Cibola facility, operated by for-profit prison corporation CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America), has developed a reputation as one of the worst private prisons in the country. Chronic understaffing and refusal to provide basic medical care lead to horrific abuse, neglect, and deaths. The facility achieved such notoriety that it was subject of extensive reporting by The Nation and The Guardian.

“Cibola has shown time and time again that it prioritizes profit over people’s lives and health,” said ACLU of New Mexico Staff Attorney Kristin Greer Love. “Conditions in Cibola continue to be abominable and our client should be released from this prison so he can get the care he needs while he goes through the process of seeking asylum.”

 

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