[Las hieleras, or “the freezers,” is how immigrants and some Border Patrol agents refer to the chilly holding cells at many stations along the U.S.-Mexico border. The facilities are used to house recently captured border crossers until they can be transferred to a long-term Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility, returned to their native country or released until their immigration hearing.
According to interviews and court documents, many immigrants have been held for days in rooms kept at temperatures so low that men, women and children have developed illnesses associated with the cold, lack of sleep, overcrowding, and inadequate food, water and toilet facilities. These complaints are backed up by anonymous surveys of recent migrants. A 2011 report (PDF) from the advocacy group No More Deaths, for example, found that about 7,000 of nearly 13,000 immigrants interviewed reported inhumane conditions in Border Patrol cells—with about 3,000 of them saying they suffered extreme cold.
The treatment of migrants in these facilities has been muted in the roiling debate in Congress over expanding the Border Patrol and overhauling the nation’s immigration system. But for thousands of men and women, the facilities have provided a harsh official greeting after what they thought would be the hardest part of their journey, crossing the border.]source: thedailybeast.com
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