Lawyers representing women being held in the Artesia immigrant detention center in southern New Mexico are claiming the Honduran consulate is encouraging immigrants to forego legal counsel and consent to deportation. The claims follow concerns voiced by legal and health advocates over access to due process among the detainees.
Around 600 women and children who were arrested by immigration officials in Texas for illegally crossing the southern border are being held in the detention facility in Artesia.
Many of those arrested come from Honduras—and according to immigration attorney Pamela Muñoz, representatives from the Honduran government have been encouraging detainees not to seek legal counsel, and to instead voluntarily agree to return home.
“They said that everybody there was going to be deported back anyway, so there was really no point in consulting with attorneys,” Muñoz said. “The Honduran consulate was stating to people that the president was promising people jobs and a bonus upon returning if people would agree to the deportation order.”
The Honduran Consulate did not respond to phone calls for this story. But Megan Jordi of the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center says she heard the same claims from at least five different women in the Artesia detention center, though those she spoke to are skeptical of what their government is promising.