AP reports that two attorneys, Kim Hunter and Andrew Free, were recently banned from a family detention center in South Texas after demanding fair treatment for their clients. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says the two violated visitation standards at the facility.
Hunter, originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, received a letter in August telling her she'd been banned after she "belligerently" demanded the release of one of her clients last month. However, she says she was banned after arguing with ICE officials about why her clients hadn't been released from the facility after the officials had been given several hours notice.
Free, from Nashville, Tennessee, learned of his banishment after he marched into a courtroom trailer to ask why ICE officials were meeting with his clients without his knowledge. Prior to being banned, he challenged ICE officials for summoning detainees into courtrooms with no lawyers or judges present and telling them they would be released with ankle monitors regardless of whether they intended to pay their bonds.
A coalition of immigration authorities plans to fight to rescind the unprecendented bans as part of an ongoing effort to improve access to mothers and children in family detention centers.
Hunter and Free are two of about 500 lawyers who volunteer at the facility in Dilley, Texas, which holds around 1,000 immigrants. Volunteer attorneys at the detention center say representation is absolutely vital in helping these women and their families pass interviews and seek aslyum. However, the lawyers say immigration authorities have been impeding their ability to represent their clients. ICE has not responded to the allegations, but a spokeswoman said the agency is in "frequent communication" with lawyers for the immigrants. Read more on Fox News Latino.