As activists criticize the conditions in private immigration facilities, federal immigration officials are considering phasing out private contractors in said facilities, like the one in Eloy, Arizona.
Specifically, US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday that he’d commissioned an advisory council to review whether ICE should continue to allow private operators to manage immigration facilities. According to Johnson, the decision is inspired by the Department of Justice’s own decision to phase out the use of private prisons, after findings indicated a general inefficiency when compared to government-run facilities.
46 of 180 of ICE’s detention facilities are privately run, with 73 percent of the agency’s detainees being held in these facilities. These private facilities have been under constant attack by immigration advocates criticizing their lack of safety.
Carl Takei, an attorney with the ACLU, said no additional review was needed for closing these facilities, since the ACLU and other advocacy groups published a report earlier this year that found inadequate medical care at these facilities led to in-custody deaths. Takei points to the record on suicides as the most worrying statistic.
Activists have been critical of the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona specifically, which has led to the death of 14 people since 2004, the most reported deaths out of any ICE facility in the country. The Eloy Detention Facility is operated by CCA, the Corrections Corporation of America.
Despite this record, ICE insists all of the facilities that hold its detainees are thoroughly inspected to ensure that people are in a safe environment.
ICE provides several levels of oversight in order to ensure that detainees in ICE custody reside in safe, secure and humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement,” spokeswoman Virginia Kice said in a written statement.
The advisory council has until the end of November to make a recommendation.