The ACLU of Arizona has prepared a report entitled "In their Own Words: Enduring abuse in Arizona immigration detention centers." The report was the result of 115 face-to-face interviews with detainees in Eloy and Florence, Arizona, correspondence with detainees, and interviews with the family members of detainees, as well as the review of more than 500 detainee grievances.
The ACLU concluded that immigrant detainees held in Eloy and Florence suffer from "systemic civil and human rights abuses related to inhumane conditions and inadequate legal protections."
The report contains the following findings:
- There have been increased detentions of non-violent, low-risk persons resulting from local immigration enforcement;
- Immigrant detainees are forced to endure inhumane conditions at Pinal County Jail, which has received “deficient” ratings in 2007, 2008 and 2009;
- Detention officers frequently place ICE detainees on lockdown for minor infractions, including not making a bed, not moving quickly enough, or saving a piece of fruit to eat later in the day.
- ICE detention standards are self-monitored, non-legally enforceable, and are not fully implemented;
- At Eloy Detention Center, a privately contracted detention facility, there is evidence of abusive treatment of vulnerable populations that are at a higher risk for sexual assault and physical abuse. Examples include five cases involving transgender or gay detainees who were sexually assaulted or treated in an abusive manner; and
- Both facilities have deficient medical and mental health care.
The Obama administration may not have the power to change our immigration laws, but it sure as hell has the power to ensure that immigrants in custody are being treated humanely.
It has become abundantly clear that this administration has failed miserably in this regards.
Par for the course.
Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).