Immigration has long been a contentious subject, and we now see media reports nearly every day telling us that the United States has an immigration “problem.” Indeed we do, but it is one that most people never hear about; specifically the physical and sexual harassment, abuse, assaults and rapes perpetrated against the women, men, and even children who are confined to immigration detention centers located across the county.
Data collected by a non-profit advocacy group, Freedom for Immigrants (formerly Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement or CIVIC), and provided to officials at Immigrations and Customs (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), confirms that the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received at least 1,016 reports of sexual abuse filed by detainees between May 2014 and July 2016- equating to about one complaint of sexual abuse per day.1 In April 2017, CIVIC filed a civil rights complaint with the federal government noting that the abuse and assaults reportedly occur at all points of interaction with detained immigrants, including: during routine searches, medical examinations, and transport to and from the facility and/or hearings.
Of the 1,016 complaints, the OIG investigated only 24 (or 2.4% of the total).2
Even after the CIVIC complaint was filed in April 2017, the federal government has done nothing to stop these abuses. The reason for the inaction is not entirely clear, but is likely due in large part to the fact that immigrant detention is a business that is being underwritten in large part by the government, which has contracted with private prison companies to provide detention services, and which has passed laws to guarantee maintenance of a minimum number of beds as well as refused to pass legislation mandating the inclusion of private prisons in the federal tax disclosure system.3 As a result, private prison corporations have become enormously profitable. Indeed, Forbes reported that in 2015 GEO Group, Inc. and Corrections Corporation of America, the two largest private prison corporations in the country, realized revenues of $1.84 billion and $1.79 billion respectively.4
Shockingly, not only has the federal government taken no action to remedy these human rights violations, but the Trump administration’s actions to imprison immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. has increased the number of detainees, leading to conditions conducive to further victimization of immigrant detainees. THIS IS THE “PROBLEM” THAT MUST STOP.
Halunen Law is a national law firm committed to protecting the rights of immigrant detainees who have been subjected physical or sexual harassment, abuse or assault, or who have been denied necessary medical care while being held in a federal or private detention centers. Our lawyers will fight for your rights and seek accountability from those who are responsible for this horrific conduct. If you have suffered from, or know someone who has suffered from, sexual assault or rape or denied necessary medical care, call us for a free consultation or fill out our INTAKE FORM and submit it for a free evaluation.
ACT TODAY—the law limits the time available to bring claims against bad actors.
1 CIVIC Press Release, Sexual Assault in Immigration Detention (April 11, 2017). (http://www.endisolation.org/sexual-assault-in-immigration-detention/)
3 Costly, Inefficient and Unaccountable: The Case for Outlawing For-Profit Prisons, Forbes (Sept. 19, 2016). https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2016/09/19/the-case-for-outlawing-for-profit-prisons/#3c789d061dad