Illegal immigrants joined with U.S. citizens to file a handful of lawsuits on Tuesday, claiming they suffered human rights abuses at the hands of federal border agents.
Immigrant advocacy groups filed the suits for 10 plaintiffs, USA Today reports. They allege Customs and Border Protection Agency officials forced illegal immigrants who were captured in southern Texas to sit in freezing cold holding cells that had no toilets.
Lawyers for the immigrants say the cell — dubbed the “ice box” — represented a pattern of abuse by the border agents.
“I don’t think these are isolated cases,” said Melissa Crow, the director of the Legal Action Center at the American Immigration Council, in the USA Today report. “The spectrum of cases we’re presenting exemplifies the culture of impunity that has taken hold at CBP.”
Agency spokesman Jenny Burke said: “We do not tolerate misconduct or abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with all investigations.”
Among the plaintiffs: Four people caught illegally crossing the border and held by agents in the “ice box,” USA Today reports.