WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement today after Secretary Jeh C. Johnson announced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will review the practices of private Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers.
Secretary Johnson announced that DHS will create a subcommittee of its Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) to review the practices and policies of private ICE facilities. This announcement comes after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on August 18 that they will phase out their use of private prisons. A study completed by the DOJ found private prisons are less safe for prisoners and cost more than government-operated facilities.
“The detention of immigrants, which often includes mothers and their children, should not be a profit center. We are pleased that DHS is creating a subcommittee to review the practices of privately-operated ICE detention centers. Countless reports have found the conditions of these facilities to be inhumane, including poor safety and health standards. Abuses reported at these facilities include denial of family visits and outdoor recreation, sexual assault and inadequate medical and mental health care.
“We call on DHS to discontinue its contracts with privately-operated ICE detention centers and seek more humane community-based alternatives to detention, which should provide undocumented immigrants with the resources they need to comply with court proceedings.”
In 2015, the CPC and House Judiciary CommitteeDemocrats held a forum to discuss abuses in for-profit family detention centers. Additionally, the CPC introduced a resolution to restore due process for immigrants and eliminate unjust barriers in the system. Most recently, Rep. Grijalva and Senator Sanders sent a letter to Secretary Johnson, urging him to end contracts with private ICE detention centers.