Changes announced in immigration detention
The holding of immigrants in detention centers, usually contracted out by Immigrant and Custom Enforcement (ICE) to private jailers, has come under severe criticism because of poor conditions, denials of legal representation and medical care. The deaths of detainees and revelations of a cover-up of abuses led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to investigate and promise reforms.
The Arizona Republic reports that John T. Morton, assistant secretary for DHS, has announced ICE’s planned reforms:
- the appointment of supervisors to watch over private facilities that detain deportees;
- regional managers to oversee treatment of seriously ill detainees;
- and a “locator” on a website so that families, attorneys, and advocates can find where a detainee is being held.
Immigration advocates welcome the news, but see it as a first step. They would rather see an end to farming out detention to private or local jails and have DHS personnel staff the detention centers. Morton assured the Arizona Republic that was his goal as well.