New Report Exposes How ICE’s Inspections Perpetuate and Obscure Abuse at Immigration Detention Centers Around the US

October 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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  Newly Released Government Documents Reveal Critical Flaws in ICE Inspections Process, Show that the Obama Administration’s Reforms Fail to Fix Widespread Abuses

WASHINGTON DC – A new report, “Lives in Peril: How Ineffective Inspections Make ICE Complicit in Immigration Detention Abuse ” released today by the National Immigration Justice Center (NIJC) and Detention Watch Network (DWN), exposes how the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inspections process for immigration detention centers obscures and perpetuates widespread abuses of detained immigrants.


The report draws on information from ICE inspections documents for 105 immigration detention facilities and features focused analyses of inspections for detention centers in Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Georgia and Illinois. NIJC obtained the inspections through a federal court order resulting from three years of litigation under the Freedom of Information Act. NIJC and DWN’s review of the documents reveals fundamental inconsistencies within and between inspection reports for individual detention centers which suggests that the immigration detention inspection process is a sham – designed to perpetuate a broken and abusive system.


“The government fought for years to keep these inspection reports hidden from the public eye, and now we know why: despite its early promises to make the detention system more accountable and humane, the Obama administration has perpetuated a system that ensures detention contractors pass their inspections and continue to receive billions of dollars from taxpayers to detain immigrants, even in jails where there are highly publicized human rights abuses,” said Claudia Valenzuela, director of detention for the National Immigrant Justice Center.

“ICE’s  inspection processes is fundamentally broken and fails to adequately assess troubling conditions and human rights violations detained immigrants face. Plain and simple – the Obama Administration’s attempts at reforming the immigration detention system have failed: Detention centers are not safe, abuses are widespread and detention facilities consistently fail to meet basic minimum standards,” explained Mary Small, policy director for the Detention Watch Network.

Toplines from the report include:

  • ICE has kept the detention inspections process centralized under its own authority and has hidden the system from the eyes of U.S. taxpayers.
  • ICE’s inspection regime fails to provide an accurate assessment of the conditions immigrants experience in detention, holds most facilities to weak and outdated human rights standards, and often fails to acknowledge publicly reported abuses.
  • Numerous inconsistencies within and between inspection reports raise serious questions about the validity of ICE inspections and imply that the inspection process is designed to facilitate passing ratings so that local governments and private prison companies can maintain their contracts. This report makes it obvious that ICE cannot police itself.
  • A robust and legitimate inspection process would find that detention facilities around the country fail to meet basic minimum standards, and require ICE to discontinue contracts with facilities that fail to uphold basic human rights protections.

NIJC was represented in the Freedom of Information Act litigation by pro bono lawyers from Dentons US LLP.

For interviews with the Detention Watch Network or National Immigration Justice Center, please contact Brett Abrams at 516-841-1105 or by email at


U.S. Representatives report on trip to family detention center

June 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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Rep. Roybal-Allard, House Democrats Recap Trip to Family Detention Facilities

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) joined seven of her fellow Democratic House Members –Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05)Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20)Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27)Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03)Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04)Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) – to recount a trip they took this week to visit two private family detention facilities in Texas used to detain mothers and children awaiting disposition of their asylum claims.   The Members are among the 136 House Democrats who recently signed a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson calling for an end to family detention. Listen to an audio recording of the press conference here.

 During their trip, the members met with detainees at the Karnes County Residential Center in Read more

#Not1More’s Virtual Conference this Week

April 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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This week marks the fifth anniversary of Governor Brewer signing Arizona’s SB1070 into law.
To commemorate the last five years of resistance and movement building, groups from across the country are joining with Puente as they launch their ICE Free AZ campaign to finish the job of ending the collaboration between ICE and police empowered by the racial profiling law.

You can be part of the convening by joining one of the virtual conferences throughout the week.

10:00am pacific Thursday April 23rd - SB1070: Five Years of Resistance
10:00am pacific Friday April 24th - Women on the Frontlines
5:00pm pacific Friday April 24th - Civil Disobedience & Migrant Rights (Spanish)
10:30am pacific Saturday April 25th - Next Generation of Resistance
Read more

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