Activists, faith leaders set to rally at Southern NM migrant detention center

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Protesters allege mistreatment and lack of adequate care at privately run facility where transgender migrant died and two Cubans tried to slash their wrists

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Immigration activists and faith leaders are planning a protest this week at a southern New Mexico migrant detention facility.

The rally is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Thursday outside the Otero County Detention Center, where Cuban migrants recently staged protests over alleged mistreatment and prolonged detention.

“We are bringing our campaigns LA RED and Live Free together to share this experience, to deepen our solidarity work and because both of our campaigns strive to end the mass detention and mass incarceration of brown and black people,” said Richard Morales, policy and program director of LA RED.

LA RED, which stands for Liberation, Action, Respect, Equity and Dignity, is an initiative of the Faith in Action network, with offices in San Diego and Washington, D.C.

The action is meant to “shed light on the inhumane conditions, deaths and mistreatment of detainees” at Otero and other processing center, organizers said.

Participants also hope to generate support for New Mexico House Bill 72, which would ban counties from signing contracts with private companies to house or detain immigrants. The Democrat-backed initiative also would prevent public entitites in the state from renewing existing contracts after June 30, 2020.

Last October, several Cuban asylum seekers staged protests at the facility and two tried to slash their wrists over poor conditions, alleged mistreatment and long waits.

Back in June, a transgender woman named Johana Medina Leon died of pneumonia. Advocates allege she was denied medical care in the two months she was held there, an allegation federal immigration officials rebutted.

The Otero County Processing Center is at 26 McGregor Range Road in Chaparral, New Mexico.

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