- A protest due to a law affecting ICE prisons took place at a government headquarters.
- A lot of people thought that Biden would not follow this law.
- Lack of ICE supervision creates serious problems for immigrants.
Los Angeles, Jun 7 (EFE News).- Immigrant advocates protested this Monday in Los Angeles against the decision of the Government of President Joe Biden to maintain a legal fight against the AB32 law, which prohibits the establishment of new private prisons in California, including the detention centers of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The protesters took their voices of protest to the headquarters of the Ninth Circuit of Appeals in Pasadena, California, where today the arguments of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the GEO Group, a private prison corporation that seeks to overturn the decision of a lower level court that confirmed the legality of the measure approved in 2019, were heard.
Proposed by former Assemblyman Rob Bonta, current California attorney general, state law AB32 prohibits new contracts to establish private prisons and ICE detention centers. The law exempts private facilities of the US Marshals Service. The law also requires the gradual dismantling of several immigrant detention centers in California, operated, among others, by GEO in the coming years.
The government of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) and GEO began a legal fight in the courts to repeal the law in 2020. In October last year, District Judge Janis Sammartino, appointed by George W. Bush (2001- 2009), ruled in favor of California, so the Trump administration decided to appeal.
Biden is expected not to continue the battle.
Advocates for the law expected the Biden Administration to drop the legal battle. Several California immigrant rights organizations said today in a statement that they are “deeply disappointed by the decision” of the Biden Administration to continue the lawsuit initiated by Trump against AB32, calling it a “betrayal” of campaign promises that did the Democrats to occupy the White House. Grisel Ruiz, an attorney for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said today amid the protest that AB32 means that “California wants to invest in the dignity of its residents and not in prisons.”
Among the protest participants were several immigrants who were detained at the ICE detention center in Adelanto, California, and reported “terrible conditions” that impacted their physical and emotional health. Ramón Valdez, 51, who was detained for almost two years in Adelanto, assured that his health deteriorated due to the poor conditions of this prison, especially in the coronavirus pandemic. Activists insist that “it is absurd for the Biden Administration to ally itself with an immoral corporation and pursue the Trump Administration’s unfounded lawsuit against this widely supported law.” EFE News
Report Exposes Lack of ICE Supervision at Irwin Detention Center
Los Angeles, Jun 3 (EFE News) .- The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) did not adequately supervise the protocols of consent used by a physician to perform gynecological surgeries, including sterilizations, to migrants held in the Irwin County Detention Center, Georgia, reveals a report released Thursday.
Information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) confirms long-standing problems at the Irwin Detention Center (ICDC), which is in the eye of the hurricane following accusations made against a doctor of performing gynecological procedures at dozens of migrants without their consent. The scandal even caused the government of President Joe Biden to order the closure of the place two weeks ago, operated by the private prison corporation LaSalle Corrections since 2011.
Errors in ICE supervision
At least 57 cases of women who were allegedly victims of these procedures have been documented in ICDC, according to congressional data. The report released today describes a series of oversight failures by ICE, notably the lack of adherence to patient consent protocols that physicians must use, the lack of translation services, and the lack of medical personnel who speak Spanish, among others.
Several emails unveiled by the investigation suggest a hands-off approach by ICE in which “it does not track, monitor, or audit whether external medical providers obtained the informed consent of people detained at the ICDC,” the ICDC details in a statement. Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), The National Immigration Project and Project South organizations, which produced the report.
Reports of abuse and neglect
The investigation also found a history of complaints filed with ICE by the Mexican consulate and advocates, with complaints of abuse and neglect at ICDC dating back to 2018. The complaints included “verbal abuse and ongoing discrimination” by ICDC staff, serving spoiled food, unsanitary conditions in showers, hallways and dining rooms, and insect infestation both in food and in common areas, among others.
“With several federal investigations underway, the Government must also thoroughly examine the systemic oversight failures by ICE at this facility and at all other detention facilities across the country,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. For her part, Sirine Shebaya, director of the National Immigration Project, warned that she hopes the Biden Administration will see “this report as further proof that the United States’ immigration detention system is inherently abusive and has irreparable flaws” EFE News
“The fight continues” until the closure of ICE centers, says activist
New York, May 25 (EFE News) .- The announcement of the closure last week of two immigration detention centers is cause for celebration for defenders of the immigrant community after years of struggles, but “there is still a lot of work to be done.” claimed an activist. “All the organizations are very happy but as long as the Immigration and Customs Control Service (ICE) prisons persist, we will not be satisfied. The fight continues, ”Rafael Pizarro, of the Bristol County for Correctional Justice organization in Massachusetts, told EFE.
The detention center in Bristol County was precisely one of those that will not receive more immigrants facing deportation. “There is no legal basis for the bailiff to go after the undocumented,” said Pizarro satisfied, although he added that “there are no guarantees that it can be reopened if there is a change in the Government in the next elections.”
ICE and the president
“We are all happy but we know that there are still problems for people who remain in the county jail that are not from ICE,” he said, and assured that they will continue to fight for them “because we fight for the rights of everyone.” According to Pizarro, about 600 people still remain in the Bristol prison, a facility for men and women with short sentences that opened in 1953 with a capacity for 1,100 beds.
“We oppose the conditions in which they keep people,” said the activist. Last week the Administration of President Joe Biden announced that ICE was ending its contract with that prison as well as that of Irwin, in Georgia, which was the center of a scandal when immigrant women reported having been subjected to forced sterilization.
The Bristol shutdown also comes after the Massachusetts Attorney’s Office issued a report last December that County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and his staff violated the civil rights of immigrants. According to the complaints, there was excessive use of force during a May 2020 clash between prisoners and guards that resulted in several injuries, prompting Democratic legislators in Congress to call for an investigation.
A broad coalition of organizations in Massachusetts, including the Civil Liberties Union, had asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to close the center in Bristol. Several legislatures across the country, including those in New Jersey and New York, are considering proposals to end the hefty contracts to house immigrants in ICE custody.
The most conservative state
Pizarro commented that Bristol is the most conservative county in the state, with “a lot of white supremacy,” and the one that gave the most votes to the former president, Republican Donald Trump. “There are a lot of people who are against immigrants, against people of color, and they will continue to press. That is why the bailiff made this a great issue “to win votes in the electoral period, the activist said.
Hodgson has also come under fire for offering in 2017 to send incarcerated people to build Trump’s proposed border wall and saying elected officials who allow their communities to become sanctuary cities should be arrested. “We have to continue fighting for the rights of the people who are still inside,” said Pizarro, who assures that the goal is to close all the centers with contracts with ICE. EFE News
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