Monday, May 10, 2021

Medical Care in ICE Detention


Medical Care in ICE Detention

Poor medical treatment contributed to more than half the deaths reported by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during a 16-month period, Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, Detention Watch Network, and National Immigrant Justice Center said in a report released today.

Based on the analysis of independent medical experts, the 72-page report, “Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention,” examines the 15 “Detainee Death Reviews” ICE released from December 2015 through April 2017. ICE has yet to publish reviews for one other death in that period. Eight of the 15 public

Death reviews show that inadequate medical care contributed or led to the person’s death. The physicians conducting the analysis also found evidence of substandard medical practices in all but one of the remaining reviews.

“ICE has proven unable or unwilling to provide adequately for the health and safety of the people it detains,” said Clara Long, a senior US researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Trump administration’s efforts to drastically expand the already-bloated immigration detention system will only put more people at risk.”

12 people died in immigration detention in fiscal year 2017, more than any year since 2009. Since March 2010, 74 people have died in immigration detention, but ICE has released death reviews in full or in part in only 52 of the cases.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Scrutinizing the Treatment


Scrutinizing the Treatment and Conditions Black Immigrants Face in Detention

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains hundreds of thousands of people each year in hundreds of jails and jail-like facilities throughout the United States. Increasingly, individuals in ICE detention are Black or come from majority-Black countries in Africa and the Caribbean.  

The complex network ICE uses for detention has a long history of human rights and due process violations, sometimes with tragic and deadly repercussions. In this context, and the broader context of mass incarceration in the United States, Black immigrants face egregious conditions. Yet these concerns too often are missing from the public’s understanding of immigration and immigration detention. 

The Council and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) are filing requests for information about the conditions, treatment, and outcomes in eight facilities throughout the U.S. South.  

The FOIAs ask for information from October 1, 2015 to the present. The eight facilities are Jackson Parish Correctional Center (Louisiana); LaSalle ICE Processing Center (Louisiana); Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center (Louisiana); Winn Correctional Center (Louisiana); Adams County Correctional Center (Mississippi); Prairieland Detention Center (Texas); T. Don Hutto Residential Center (Texas); and West Texas Detention Facility (Texas). 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Investigation Into ICE's Mishandling of COVID-19


Investigation Into ICE's Mishandling of COVID-19

The United States currently has the largest immigration detention system in the world. On any given day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, holds tens of thousands of people in about 200 facilities across the country. And throughout the pandemic, these facilities have become some of the most dangerous places in the United States when it comes to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Our analysis compared estimated infection rates in ICE detention centers with infection rates in prisons and in the general population. As COVID-19 cases rose last June, ICE detention facilities had an average infection rate five times that of prisons and 20 times that of the general population.

To understand the risks the ICE facilities posed, we talked to former detainees, data scientists, lawyers, county officials and the family of a former ICE contractor about the spread of COVID-19 inside and outside ICE detention centers. We also reviewed court documents, medical records of detainees and government inspection reports from June 2020 to March 2021. Here’s what we found.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Admissions Cap

 Biden’s Commitment to Refugees in Question After Flip-Flopping on Admissions Cap

Throughout his presidential campaign and after the election, Joe Biden repeatedly condemned President Trump’s decision to slash the U.S. refugee admissions level to its lowest in history. He  promised to raise the number of refugees admitted to 125,000 a year.

But on April 16, President Biden instead signed a new refugee determination keeping in place Trump’s 15,000 cap on refugees for the rest of the fiscal year, the lowest level in the history of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. This decision was the first major promise on immigration that Biden appeared to break.

Biden did, however, lift several discriminatory restrictions on the refugee program that had blocked many refugees from the Middle East and Africa. And after refugee groups and members of Congress condemned the administration’s decision, the White House seemingly walked back its original announcement, saying that “We expect the President to set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15.”

The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, established decades ago, requires the president to sign a “Presidential Determination” each year setting the number of refugees that will be resettled. In President Obama’s last term, that level was set at 110,000 for fiscal year 2017. Trump lowered the level to 50,000 immediately on taking office, then cut the level each year after that. It plummeted to a historic low of 15,000 for fiscal year 2021, which runs from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. In total, just 2,050 refugees have been resettled through the first half of the fiscal year.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Responding at the Border

 How the Biden Administration Is Responding to Unaccompanied Children, 

Families, and Adults at the Border

The Arrival of Single Adults at the Border

Beginning last spring, after lockdowns lifted across Mexico and Central America, tens of thousands of single adults began coming to the U.S.-Mexico border. Under a policy put in place by the Trump administration known as “Title 42,” individuals who cross the border between ports of entry were rapidly expelled back to Mexico or placed on a plane and sent to their home country.

These rapid expulsions created a situation where single adults—who didn’t have to worry about the health and safety of a child with them—could attempt to cross the border repeatedly. In December 2020 alone, the Border Patrol apprehended single adults over 62,000 times (many of them the same people). This was the highest level since 1999.

The number of single adults coming to the border has continued to increase since then, making up 67% of all border apprehensions since January. In March, the Border Patrol apprehended single adults 96,628 times. Nearly all were expelled back to Mexico—even those hoping to seek asylum.

Single adults do not represent the same kind of processing difficulties as families and children, in part because the Border Patrol was created generations ago for this exact purpose.

The Arrival of Families and Unaccompanied Children

At the same time, a different phenomenon has been occurring with families and unaccompanied children. Though the number of asylum-seeking families and children coming to the border had begun growing last year, that number has skyrocketed since January.

The arrival of record numbers of unaccompanied children has continued to prove an enormous humanitarian challenge for the Biden administration. President Biden has committed to not restoring the Trump-era policy of expelling unaccompanied children, which was blocked in court last November.

In response, the Biden administration has worked to rapidly expand the capacity of the Office of Refugee Resettlement through the creation of new “emergency influx shelters.” This strategy seems to be having a positive impact, with the number of children in Border Patrol custody beginning to drop through the first weeks of April.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Eagle Pass

Texas border town mayor says illegal immigrants have been hiding in homes

Eagle Pass, Texas Mayor Luis Sifuentes says border agents in his area have been catching about 300 illegal immigrants a day.

The mayor of a Texas border town told "America Reports" on Monday that illegal immigrants have been hiding in the homes, backyards and patios

Eagle Pass borders the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, which is to the southwest and across the Rio Grande. The Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras metropolitan area (EG-PN) is one of six binational metropolitan areas along the United States-Mexican border.


Monday, March 29, 2021

The House Passes Historic Dream


The House Passes Historic Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two immigration bills on March 18, signaling that Congress might finally enact major immigration reform for the first time in over three decades.

These bills—the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act—both offer pathways to U.S. citizenship for many immigrants with longstanding ties to the United States.

Who Benefits from the Dream and Promise Act?

Millions of immigrants living in the United States may soon be eligible for permanent status, thanks to the passage of the Dream and Promise Act of 2021. The bill passed by a 228-197 vote in the House.

If the legislation also passes in the Senate, it will provide an estimated 4 million Dreamers—young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children—a pathway to American citizenship. This would go further than the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, which only provided temporary protections from deportation and the ability to work lawfully.

Another 400,000 people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) would also receive a pathway to citizenship. Countries are designated for TPS or DED due to ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary conditions. Most recipients have lived in the U.S. for decades.