Henderson, Nev. -- A new report by UNLV's Immigration Clinic at the Boyd School of Law accuses the Henderson Detention Center of mistreating immigration detainees, calling them racial slurs and denying them access to their lawyers.
Student attorneys with the immigration clinic interviewed 29 immigration detainees at the detention center to find out how they were being treated, and whether they were being given proper access to legal representation.
The Henderson Detention Center is where most undocumented immigrants in Nevada are detained.
"We're going to review it and take a look and see what the allegations are, and try and remedy anything that we can find to be true," Henderson Police spokesperson Keith Paul said. "We are inspected by a variety of different agencies throughout the year."
After sitting down and talking with 29 of them, researchers found 11 detainees reported being mistreated, threatened or called racial slurs by Immigration and Customers Enforcement agents.
Nine detainees reported feeling rushed, pressured, or coerced to sign legal documents that could result in deportation or prolong detention.
"I know some of it they're basing it on is from a 2011 inspection," Paul added. "Since then, we've had several other inspections, most recently a 2013 inspection, where we've remedied a majority of the items that were found."
Seven said they were routinely denied access to a telephone. Others reported being denied access to their attorney. Several complained that delivery of important mail was often delayed.
The co-director of the Immigration Clinic says the most troubling findings was the accusations of coercion.
"In some cases, people didn't understand what they were signing. They were pressured to sign or rushed through signing forms. So, that type of either verbal or physical coercion in signing, to me, was one of the worst offenses," co-director Fatma Marouf said.
Something else troubled the student attorneys involved in the research.
After they submitted a draft report of their findings to the detention center, they say their follow up visits were restricted. They say they were required to jump through multiple hoops to in order to get access to the detainees.