WASHINGTON, D.C.– Leadership of the Congressional Quad-Caucus – which is composed of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), sent a letter to the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Reps. Raúl Grijalva (CPC), Mark Pocan (CPC), Keith Ellison (CPC), Cedric Richmond (CBC), Judy Chu (CAPAC), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (CHC), call for ICE to collect data on its facilities and detainee populations and publish that data in an accessible and public way.
The text of the letter is below and the original is attached.
July 10, 2017
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Thomas D. Homan
500 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20536
Dear Acting Director Homan:
We write to urge Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to make current data on its detention centers available to the public online. It is deeply concerning that basic information on ICE detainees and facility populations are not available to the public. Transparency is critical both because of ICE’s long history of failing to safeguard the health and safety of women, men and children, and because the public has a right to know how taxpayer dollars are being spent in government and contract facilities. We urge ICE to collect and publish data on its public and private detention centers and detainee population – and to do so proactively, with regular updates, in easy-to-use and accessible formats.
At the moment, ICE does not publish online and regularly update current numbers of residents and/or detainees in ICE custody or the numbers of residents and/or detainees held in individual adult or family facilities. Demographic statistics, to include age, gender, and ethnicity, are unavailable, as are reports on the number of assaults that occur in publicly and privately-held ICE facilities. Additionally, although ICE collects and compiles this information internally, the agency does not make public information about individual facilities such as the contract type, gender of detainees, security level, capacity, population, contracting entity, facility operator, contract initiation and expiration dates, per diem rates paid, recent inspection ratings, and whether ICE maintains an on-site detention services monitor. Enhanced transparency is critical given that ICE privately-operated detention centers have poor health outcomes.
Where ICE does make data available, much of the data is incomplete or vague. For example, while a list of 112 ICE facilities is available via an interactive map, this map does not provide population or other relevant data regarding the facilities it covers. There also appear to be dozens of facilities missing from this map.3 Moreover, although ICE publishes some contract opportunities and awards, it does not typically publicize this information for intergovernmental service agreement facilities or U.S. Marshals Service intergovernmental agreement facilities, which constitute the vast majority of the agency’s detention contracts.
Although ICE makes basic data difficult to obtain, transparency is possible in each of the aforementioned areas. The Bureau of Prisons updates its data weekly in an easy-to-access, regularly updated format. We are troubled that ICE does not hold itself to the same standards of transparency and accountability. We thus urge ICE to make basic data such as: facility information, capacity and population details, and standards compliance information available online in a user-friendly format. We look forward to hearing from you by 08/01/2017.
Raúl M. Grijalva, CPC Co-Chair
Mark Pocan, CPC Co-Chair
Keith Ellison, CPC Vice Chair
Cedric Richmond, CBC Chair
Judy Chu, CAPAC Chair
Michelle Lujan Grisham, CHC Chair