Immigrant detention centers begin receiving surprise inspections

Immigration advocates opposed to immigrant detention centers have applauded the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to begin making surprise inspections of their facilities. The announcement that unaccounted inspections of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection facilities will begin was made by the Inspector General’s Office, with the first surprise inspection having already been carried out on Tuesday.

A statement released by the Office of the Inspector General says that the inspection program was being initiated following complaints to the Department of Homeland Security’s OIG hotline in regards to the conditions for undocumented immigrants in the facilities, as well as to similar concerns that have been raised by immigrant rights groups. The statement adds that the inspections are intended to monitor the Department’s compliance with the official detention health and safety standards set by the federal government and to look at the facilities offered to minors when relevant.

The inspections are to be ongoing with the results to be delivered to Congress, the general public, and Homeland Security at an as yet unannounced date. The national coalition group in support of immigrants, Detention Watch Network, applauded the decision but says that much more still needs to be done.

Mary Small, the Policy Director for Detention Watch Network, says that although the surprise inspections are a good move, the Department should also follow their advice to interview immigrants in detention while the inspections are being carried out so as to increase the chances of capturing the full array of concerns that may otherwise go unreported.