U.S. sued over legal access, better conditions for migrants

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In this July 12, 2019 file photo, men stand in a U.S. Immigration and Border Enforcement detention center in McAllen, Texas, during a visit by Vice President Mike Pence. Immigration lawyers say a pattern has repeated itself for several weeks in migrant detention facilities along the border. Immigrants are being detained in packed cells only to be transferred out within hours once the government is sued on their behalf. (Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) ⁠— Lawyers are asking a federal judge to order U.S. Customs and Border Protection to provide legal access to detainees and improve conditions in detention cells where reports of fetid conditions have sparked outrage.

The request for a preliminary injunction was filed Monday in federal district court in Brownsville, Texas, on behalf of detainees who allege they have been held for weeks or months in fenced-in pens without the ability to call their relatives or lawyers.

In more than a dozen cases, lawyers have been contacted by people who say their relatives have disappeared inside detention.

CBP, which includes the Border Patrol, is allowed to detain people for only three days. But the Trump administration has held thousands of people longer because long-term facilities are full and it doesn’t want to release adults who have entered the U.S. without permission.

CBP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The mission of BorderReport.com is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.

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