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OIG Warns that El Paso Immigration Detention Center is Dangerously Overcrowded

According to the New York Times, overcrowding at an El Paso immigrant detention facility is so severe that it presents an immediate health and safety risk to the immigrants being held in it. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailed the extreme and continued violations of federal standards that the overcrowded facility presents, including:

  • Instead of being released as advised after a maximum of 72 hours, people are being held for weeks in cells with standing room only
  • Limited access to showers or clean clothes, leaving some in the same soiled clothing that they have been wearing for days or weeks
  • 155 people being held in a cell meant to hold 35 people, and 41 people in a cell meant to hold eight people
OIG Warns that El Paso Immigration Detention Center is Dangerously Overcrowded

In response, DHS stated that it wasn’t equipped to handle the income surges of migrants, and that they would be opening a new holding facility for 800 people in late July, along with the soft-sided temporary structure that they have been using to hold 500 people since May. Furthermore, DHS revealed plans to open another processing center in El Paso that would hold 1,800 people in about 18 months. DHS also cited Congressional reform of immigration policies that create incentives for immigrants to enter the U.S.  as a major cause of the surge.

OIG responded that plans for future additional facilities were insufficient to address the worsening crisis, which was likely to result in rising tensions that could turn violent and a rampant spread of disease. However, OIG provided no concrete actions that DHS should take to remedy the situation. The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your situation. We intend to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.

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