Nearly 300 Immigrants Deported From Centers

TUCSON (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Nearly 300 Central American women and children have been deported from family detention centers that opened in the wake of a recent influx of people illegally crossing the Southwest border.

As of Wednesday evening, 280 women and children had been deported from the Artesia Family Residential Center in Artesia, N.M. Another 14 had been removed from Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas.

Most of them have been repatriated to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

In late July, immigration officials stopped receiving and deporting women and children from the Artesia facility after a chicken pox quarantine. They resumed immigration removal flights to Central America on Aug. 7.

Since then, officials have deported 71 mothers and children from the Artesia center, said Leticia Zamarripa, a spokeswoman with Department of Homeland Security.

Immigration officials halted the intake and removals of detainees at the facility “out of an abundance of caution,” after a resident was diagnosed with chicken pox.

Aside from having to contend with a few cases of chicken pox, the facility and other similar centers have been plagued by other difficulties. For instance, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general report has cited various other problems — inadequate amounts of food, inconsistent temperatures and unsanitary conditions — at various immigration holding facilities for children.

Also, immigration officials have been accused of not allowing the mothers and children due process as the U.S. speeds up the processing of the thousands of single parents with children who have fled Central America and entered the U.S.