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Detainees Lost in Court in Laredo

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The Texas Tribune reported in collaboration with the Marshall Project and This American Life that immigration court in Laredo has lost track of immigrants’ files. The court’s disarray took place in the Laredo Processing Center operated by CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA).

In the case of asylum seeker Oscar Arnulfo Ramírez, the court clerk lost record that he was still detained. “It’s as if he’s non-existent,” Ramírez, lawyer, Paola Tostado, told the Texas Tribune. “He’s still in a detention center… But there’s no proceeding going on. He’s just sitting there doing completely nothing.” Tostado also reported in December that she had two other clients delayed in their hearings with no court date “for more than seven months.

Reporters spent one week in the facility in October and found that detainees were “lost in the system for months on end,” prolonging their detention and leading to chaos in the small, windowless courtroom. “Hearing schedules were erratic, case files went missing,” the article stated.

The backlog of immigration cases, especially along the Texas/Mexico border, has kept populations high in privately owned detention centers.

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GEO Group's Laredo Detention Center Hit by Riot?

The GEO Group, owner of the Pecos prison that was home to two riots over the past few months, is now apparently being struck with another alleged riot at its Rio Grande Detention Center in Laredo, Texas, according to a story from Pro8News, ("LPD called out to Rio Grande Detention Center," March 11th).

Laredo police are called out to the Rio Grande Detention Center for assistance after a situation with the inmates. A helicopter could be seen circling around the prison around seven this evening.

Sources say a riot may have broken out behind the detention center walls but neither representative from the Geo Group nor Laredo police could confirm those details. According to police, officers were called out to assist the situation, which was controlled after 20 minutes.

Pro 8 News tried to obtain details from the Rio Grande Detention Center but were asked to leave the premises.

The Laredo lock-up, dubbed the "superjail" by local media, was subject to much criticism before its opening.  Here's our past coverage of the controversy:

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