Homeland Security IG can’t compel safer immigration detention facilities fast enough

Homeland Security IG can’t compel safer immigration detention facilities fast enough

If you’re a group local to a detention facility and want to help our effort, let us know

Written by
Edited by JPat Brown

Earlier this month, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security released its second Management Alert in as many months related to the conditions of detained undocumented immigrants.

“We issued two recent Management Alerts because in the course of our review we identified issues that posed a serious, imminent threat to the health and safety of CBP personnel and detainees requiring immediate action by the Department,” Diana Shaw of the IG’s office explained in a hearing last week before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. “Management Alerts are a unique product issued by DHS OIG in relatively rare circumstances in which we identify an issue so serious that we deem it necessary to report on the issue before completing our standard inspection or review process.”

The Alerts were issued after inspections of the El Paso del Norte Processing Center and five Customs and Border Protection facilities in the Rio Grande Valley revealed dangerously severe overcrowding.

Officials at CBP agreed that it needed to address the conditions, which had some adults in standing-room-only conditions for days, but its plan won’t see the situation rectified until the end of 2020. The Inspector General’s office warns that CBP hasn’t considered a long term strategy. CBP, in its response, expressed that it didn’t see a full solution until further penalties were placed on individuals who enter the country illegally.

To address their growing populations, some of the agencies responsible for detaining alleged violators of immigration laws - Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Prisons - are building additional facilities, some under contract with private operators.

The OIG issued a Management Alert earlier this year for operations at Adelanto Processing Center, which is run by the GEO Group. ICE renewed its contract with the company shortly thereafter.

MuckRock wants to learn more about the operations of these immigration detention facilities, private and public. If you’re a group local to a facility and want to help our effort, let us know via the form below.

Join the effort to hold immigrant detention facilities accountable

Read the OIG’s report on CBP’s Rio Grande Valley facilities below:

Image via Wikimedia Commons