Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Almost a Dozen Immigrants Detained in Solitary Confinement for More than Two Months

According to a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, nearly a dozen immigrants were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and kept in solitary confinement for more then two months.

According to the inspection report of the Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Calexico, California,  officials used solitary confinement as a long- term solution for immigrants who were in protective custody, for those who needed special supervision, and for housing due to safety risks. In addition to the 11 immigrants who had been held in solitary confinement for more than two months, two other immigrants were kept in solitary confinement for more than 10 months.

While ICE detainees can request to be placed into protective custody, ICE can place detainees in administrative segregation if they pose a threat to the safety of other immigrants and/or themselves. When interviewed the inspectors stated, “During our inspection, we identified serious violations regarding the administrative segregation of detainees at [Imperial Regional Detention Facility]. Specifically, IRDF was using administrative segregation as a long-term solution for detainees in protective custody and overly restricted detainees by not offering privileges similar to those offered to detainees in general housing units.”

The inspectors further stated that the “examination of segregation records showed the facility inaccurately reported to ICE that detainees were receiving recreation time when, in fact, they were not. Moreover, detainees in administrative segregation were restricted to their individual cells for approximately 22 to 23 hours a day without access to the same group activities or opportunities as those in the general population”.

In response to the report, Greg Archambault, a lead ICE official in the area said; “We are firmly committed to prioritizing the health, safety, and welfare of all of those in our care and custody. We have reviewed OIGs recommendations and attribute meeting compliance standards regarding detainee classification at IRDF to the dedication of the officers at the facility. We concur with the OIGs additional recommendations and have taken corrective action where appropriate to ensure our continued compliance with PBNDS [Performance Based National Detention Standards]”.

The inspector general’s report comes after  increased concern on the conditions of ICE detention facilities especially due to their safety level amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A couple of months ago, the House Oversight Committee expressed in a report that ““immigrants in detention centers operated by for-profit contractors are facing negative health outcomes and even death as a result of inadequate medical care, poor conditions, understaffing, and delayed emergency care and at times, facility staff have falsified records to cover up these problems”.

THE HILL