OIG

OIG Investigates Conditions at El Paso Immigration Detention Center

By Peek & Toland on July 24, 2019

Following two surprise visits in May 2019 by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to an immigration detention center in El Paso, OIG issued a report concerning the severe overcrowding taking place at the facility. OIG found the level of congestion to be so substantial as to pose a risk to the health and safety of the immigrants housed in the facility.

OIG detailed some of their most shocking findings in its detailed report about El Paso Del Norte immigration processing center, as follows:

  • Some people were held in “standing room” only cells for weeks, although they generally should not be detained for more than 72 hours
  • Individuals had limited access to showers and clean clothes, wearing the same clothing for days or even weeks
  • One cell designed to hold 35 people held 155 people, and another designed to hold eight people held 45; overall, the facility, which has a capacity of 125, was holding 900 people at one point

OIG reiterated throughout its report that DHS officials should take immediate action to resolve these issues. They cited fears of rising tensions among the detained persons that could lead to violence, as well as the spread of infectious diseases and illnesses.

OIG Investigates Conditions at El Paso Immigration Detention Center

In response, DHS officials stated that they were not equipped to handle the current influx of immigrants. However, DHS advised OIG that it was operating an additional climate-controlled soft-sided structure at the site that could hold up to an additional 500 people. Officials reportedly will open a new holding facility in El Paso to house up to 800 people, and in about 18 months, intend to open a new processing center to hold an additional 1,800 people. The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal representation of countless individuals facing various immigration-related issues. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.

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OIG Criticizes ICE in Timely Deportations

By Peek & Toland on June 23, 2019

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a report entitled “ICE Faces Barriers in Timely Repatriation of Detained Aliens.” In reviewing the cases of over 3,000 immigrants who were not removed from the U.S. within 90 days of receiving a final order of removal, OIG concluded that some of the factors resulting in these delays are beyond the control of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Some of these factors include the lengthy nature of immigrants appealing their removal orders and the fact that foreign governments are not always cooperative in issuing the appropriate travel documents and arrangements.

However, OIG also noted that some of ICE’s internal problems exacerbated the issues concerning the timely removal of immigrants from the country. Specifically, ICE has major issues with staffing and technology that inhibit its efforts to timely remove these individuals. ICE continues to have issues with inadequate staffing, high turnover rates, and heavy caseloads, which impacts their management of immigrants pending removal from the country.

OIG Criticizes ICE in Timely Deportations

Furthermore, ICE uses a cumbersome manual process to make international flight plans for immigrants to return to their native countries, rather than utilizing available technology to complete these arrangements. ICE also has developed a tool designed to track statistics on the efficiency of removal operations, but its metrics are incomplete and do not track some of the necessary information.

Overall, OIG made five recommendations for ICE to improve its removal operations:

  • Develop a new staffing model that assigns sufficient officers to manage immigrants who are subject to removal orders
  • Conduct training for all Enforcement and Removal Operations staff about the importance of obtaining proper identity documents from immigrants at the time of apprehension
  • Develop a web-based flight managements and tracking system to expedite removal
  • Use an electronic system as a source of official removal statistics

The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal representation of countless individuals facing various immigration-related issues. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys today.

Posted in Immigration

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