Gov't Watchdog Slams Conditions at ICE Detention Facilities - NBC4 Washington
Immigration in America

Immigration in America

Full coverage of immigration issues in the U.S.

Gov't Watchdog Slams Conditions at ICE Detention Facilities

In one facility, inspectors found nooses in detainee cells, the segregation of certain detainees in an overly restrictive way and inadequate medical care, the report said

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Empowering Students with Technology
    Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General
    From left: a moldy shower stall, an overflowing toilet and non-working toilet observed at immigrant detention facilities in 2018.

    Homeland Security's watchdog agency says it has found rotting food, moldy and dilapidated bathrooms and practices that violated standards at immigration detention facilities.

    The Homeland Security Department's internal watchdog says rotting food, moldy and dilapidated bathrooms and agency practices at immigration detention facilities may violate detainees' rights.

    The Office of Inspector General made unannounced visits to four facilities in California and New Jersey between May and November of last year, according to a report published Thursday. The facilities together house about 5,000 detainees.

    In an Adelanto, California detention facility, inspectors found nooses in detainee cells, the segregation of certain detainees in an overly restrictive way and inadequate medical care, the report said.

    Trump Purges Homeland Security Dept. After Nielsen Ouster

    [NATL] Trump Purges Homeland Security Leadership Following Nielsen Ouster

    Frustrated by the situation at the southern border, President Trump is purging leadership at the Department of Homeland Security to make his immigration agenda easier to enact, while the leadership void in his administration continues to grow. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 9, 2019)

    It comes as the Trump administration is managing a worsening problem at the U.S.-Mexico border, with a dramatic increase in the number of Central American migrants. While most are families who cannot be easily returned to their home countries, the number of single adults is also on the rise. Immigration officials are detaining an increasing number of single adults — about 52,000 now — but are funded for only 45,000. The administration has asked for $4.5 billion more for additional bed space.

    Last month, Border Patrol agents made 132,887 apprehensions, topping 100,000 for the first time since April 2007 and setting a record with 84,542 adults and children apprehended. An additional 11,507 were children traveling alone, and 36,838 were single adults.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said they are working to ensure all facilities comply with standards. They say they have already trained food service staff on food safety and they extensively cleaned and renovated housing units. They included photos of cleaned showers and bathrooms in their response.

    "The safety, rights and health of detainees in ICE's care are paramount," the agency's chief financial officer, Stephen Roncone, wrote to the inspector general's office. "ICE has made substantial progress to address the findings and recommendation in the OIG's draft report."

    Holding single adults is an administration priority; officials say detention is one of the only consequences that can be applied to those crossing illegally. But two facilities took detainees out of the general population to special units as punishment before they should have, three wrongly put detainees in restraints and one facility strip-searched detainees who were to be segregated, the watchdog found.

    In a facility in Essex, New Jersey, inspectors found detainees lacked toiletries and were given uniforms that didn't fit.

    Mattis Responds to Trump With Bones Spurs Burn

    [NATL] Mattis Responds to Trump With Bones Spurs Burn

    Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis took the stage at the annual Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York City to crack-wise after President Donald Trump called him an "overrated general".

    (Published Friday, Oct. 18, 2019)

    At a facility in Aurora, California, detainees were not allowed visits from friends or families, even though there was room for them to do so. Managers said they were concerned about drugs or weapons being smuggled, but acknowledged that visits should be considered.

    There have been reports of poor medical care and dangerous conditions at ICE facilities for years.