Cibola County Correctional Facility was a federal prison in Milan, NM, that was shut down in October 2016 due to medical violations. In early 2017, it reopened as an immigration detention center run by CoreCivic, a for-profit prison company. Most of the people held in the prison are political asylum seekers who have fled violence in their home countries and presented themselves at the US border asking for help. By March, the prison was housing the greatest percentage of asylum seekers of any detention center in the country. Located in a remote community 80 miles from Albuquerque, the refugees detained at Cibola have very little access to legal counsel, and detained immigrants without legal representation are statistically unlikely to win their cases.
Santa Fe Dreamers Project, in partnership with the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, has been taking as many of these political asylum cases as we can. These are a few of their stories.