CHAPARRAL, N.M. (KRQE) – The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed a lawsuit seeking the immediate release of three immigrants detained in the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, New Mexico who are at high-risk to COVID-19.

The ACLU argues that “continuing to detain them in civil immigration detention despite serious risk to their health and safety amounts to punishment and violates their due process.” The suit by the ACLU was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico and includes testimony froM the three immigrant detainees who suffer from underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure.

“This is one of more than twenty lawsuits the ACLU has filed against ICE in states around the country,” said Eunice Cho, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Prison Project in a news release. “Public health experts have been clear that detention centers are tinderboxes for the spread of COVID-19. For our clients, an infection will likely be a death sentence. It is unconscionable to keep people detained under these circumstances. We will keep fighting for our clients’ right to health and safety.”

According to the ACLU’s news release, there are two known cases of COVID-19 at the Otero County Processing Center.