Organization uncovers nearly 100 immigration detention contracts
Contracts and inspection reports for nearly 100 detention facilities have been released after a four year freedom of Information Act (FOIA) fight led by the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC).
“The thousands of pages of documents provide an unprecedented look into a failed system that lacks accountability, shields ICE from public scrutiny, and allows local governments and private prison companies to brazenly maximize profits at the expense of basic human rights,” reads the report by NIJC.
The contracts involve Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), local governments and private prison companies that housed 92 percent of the 33,400 immigrants in detention in 2012.
A convoluted and obscure contracting process; lack of uniformity, consistency and clarity; outdated standards, and lack of spending transparency and tracking are just some of the issues denounced by the NIJC.
To address them, the organization called for an improvement in providing public access to information regarding contracting process; ending indefinite contracts and revisiting existing contracts; refraining from entering into contracts agreeing to minimum bed guarantees.
Additionally, the organization called on Congress to passing the “Accountability in Immigration Detention Act,” which establishes standards to ensure that immigrants in detention centers are treated humanely, and the “Protecting Taxpayers and Communities from Local Detention Quotas Act,” which prohibits ICE from entering into contracts that provide detention centers with prepaid, guaranteed numbers of filled beds each day.
“By making these contracts publicly available, we hope to enable families and advocates to have a better understanding of the relationships between local governments, private corporations, and the federal immigration apparatus that incarcerates their loved ones and community members—and be better equipped to challenge unjust detention practices at both the local and systemic level,” said NIJC Director of Detention Services Claudia Valenzuela.