Mexican Consulate Leaders Talk about Relationship with MTC’s Otero II Facility

The Otero County Processing Center, a detention center for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, fosters a culture of respect. Warden Dora Orozco explains:

“My approach is to have open communication with detainees, and talk to them, and be open about anything that we do around here.

“We have a portion in the in-service and pre-service for all new employees where they have staff/detainee communications, and we stress that they communicate with the detainee and how to communicate with them and how to talk to them. Some of the detainees have never been incarcerated or been detained before, and so they come in and they’re stressed, and they see somebody in uniform, and they think that they’re not gonna be able to talk to them, or they’re not gonna respond to them well. And the officers here respond to them very well [due to] all the training that the officers go through in the in-service. Now the detainees and the officers are able to talk and get along, and be approachable, the officers. The detainees can ask questions about anything, and the officers will have a response.”

In Part II of this story, we’ll take a look at the impressions of two local men who volunteer at the facility and how they perceive the culture they’ve witnessed on a regular basis. For now, two women from the EL Paso Mexican Consulate explain their impressions of the environment they’ve sensed in their visits to the facility.

Adriana Martinez-Landaverde is the Consul for Community Affairs with the El Paso Mexican Consulate.

“We have a very straightforward relationship with Otero. Our consul visits this facility regularly. Not only this facility but other detention centers as well.”

Nashelli Sanchez is also with the El Paso Mexican Consulate.

“We’ve had two visits for my part. We’ve been well received by them. Truthfully, we’re very surprised with all of the activities they had…We observe that they have a library. So, when they have free time, they can be preparing themselves. Also, regarding the food, the food is very good. And really, we were surprised, the environment was quite peaceful. We observe respect in every moment.”

Ms. Martinez-Landaverde summarizes.

“We’ve always seen at Otero that our people, especially Mexicans, that they are treated with dignity. In humility we can tell you Otero has always been in communication with the consulate regarding anything to do with our nationals, their needs, and the opportunities that they can take advantage of before they return to Mexico.”