MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - US officials in charge of the notorious detention facility for Central American immigrant women and children told rights advocates in a recent confidential meeting their confinement could last until next summer, Associated Press reported Monday.
"All of us would love us to see the doors close in Artesia but the reality is the need will probably be there and probably until the end of the high season, probably August next year," AP cited an unidentified government official as saying.
The makeshift detention center in southeastern New Mexico was built during the summer of 2014 to house more than 500 people from Central America who fled across the US border throughout the year. Many of the detainees have since filed asylum pleas.
Ahead of the new school year, trailers were set up at the facility to serve as a school for the immigrant children.
According to AP, civil rights advocates are suing the US government for “taking things to an extreme,” demanding an exceptionally high bail than for the rest of the immigrants and turning down asylum claims at a much higher rate than usually. Only 37.8 percent have so far cleared initial interviews compared to the 62.7 nationwide.
The news of a prolonged detention has left Artesia immigrants deeply frustrated about their future in the United States, with detainees claiming they are being "punished" for coming to the country.
US immigration officials said however the facility was set up to prevent more and more immigrants from melting into the United States. The official, interview by AP, said that about 70 percent of families who had been released into the United States on condition to contact immigration authorities vanished without a trace.
More than 60,000 unaccompanied children — mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — have been caught crossing the US-Mexico border illegally since October 2013. The US administration recognizes this is a humanitarian situation, but has made clear its main objective is to detain and deport these children and their families.