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ICE

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • Office of Inspector General Completes Investigation of the Treatment of a Non-Citizen from Russia Who Was in Immigration and Customs Enforcement Custody Prior to His Death

    For Information Contact

    Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

    For Immediate Release

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    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated an investigation based on an article published by the Seattle Times titled, “Russian immigrant’s handwritten note leaves many questions about treatment at Northwest Detention Center.” The article alleged questionable actions taken at the Northwest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Processing Center (NWIPC), Tacoma, WA, in the treatment of an ICE detainee. The article reported that while the individual was on a prolonged hunger strike, ICE placed him in a cold, isolated cell without any clothes, and that he continued to be held in segregation without receiving adequate medical and mental health care. The individual attempted suicide while in ICE custody at the NWIPC on November 15, 2018. He later succumbed to his injuries at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tacoma, WA, on November 18, 2018. A few hours prior to the suicide attempt, he was notified by a NWIPC staff member that the Board of Immigration Appeals had dismissed his appeal, and arrangements would be made to proceed with his removal from the United States.

    DHS OIG reviewed policies, records, memoranda, and information reports; interviewed witnesses; reviewed the Detainee Death, Root Cause Analysis, and Psychological Autopsy Reports; and coordinated with the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (DOJ CRD).

    The investigation revealed that the individual was provided with medical and mental health care that was within ICE policy during his hunger strike and overall incarceration at the NWIPC. He was placed in a cell by himself wearing only a suicide smock with a suicide blanket and mattress for less than 24 hours while on suicide watch, as per policy.

    Additionally, he was in segregation during his hunger strike as a protective measure per policy and he remained in “Segregated in Protective Custody” status at his own request. The ICE Detainee Death Report cited there were no violations of detention standards that directly contributed to the individual’s death, but areas of concern were noted regarding his medical care, safety, and security at the NWIPC. The Detainee Death Report included multiple areas of concern as information only and concluded that they did not contribute to his death. The ICE Health Service Corps’ Root Cause Analysis Report cited areas that were indirectly contributory to his attempted suicide and provided a corrective Action Plan. ICE and the GEO Group (GEO) have made changes and improvements and conducted training with regards to the corrective Action Plan, as well as the aforementioned areas of concern.

    The investigation found that no ICE policies were violated, but it did determine that GEO custody staff violated GEO policy when they failed to search the individual’s cell for impermissible items each time he vacated the cell. The investigation also found no discrepancies or inconsistencies with NWIPC’s statement that the individual committed suicide by hanging himself. The Medical Examiner’s autopsy report concluded his death was caused by anoxic encephalopathy due to hanging and the manner of death was suicide. The DOJ CRD and the local USAO were briefed on the investigation and their review determined that the investigative findings did not identify any violations of Federal law.

    DHS Agency
  • DHS Needs to Better Demonstrate Its Efforts to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trafficking

    Executive Summary

    DHS could not provide any performance measures and provided only limited data to demonstrate the full extent or effectiveness of its efforts to enforce wildlife trafficking laws.  In addition, CBP personnel inconsistently recorded data on wildlife encounters, and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents did not always completely or accurately record actions and data related to wildlife trafficking.  CBP personnel also did not always demonstrate that they involved ICE HSI special agents when suspecting wildlife trafficking crimes.  Finally, DHS did not establish performance goals to measure the results of its efforts to combat wildlife trafficking.  We attributed these issues to DHS, CBP, and ICE not providing adequate oversight, including clear and comprehensive policies and procedures, of wildlife trafficking efforts.  As a result, DHS may be missing opportunities to curtail the spread of zoonotic viruses and disrupt transnational criminal organizations that use the same networks for other illicit trafficking, such as narcotics, humans, and weapons.  We made one recommendation to improve the Department’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking.  The Department concurred with the recommendation and provided a plan to improve its efforts.

    Report Number
    OIG-22-02
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2022
  • Violations of ICE Detention Standards at Otay Mesa Detention Center

    Executive Summary

    During our unannounced inspection of Otay Mesa in San Diego, California, we identified violations of ICE detention standards that compromised the health, safety, and rights of detainees.  Otay Mesa complied with standards for classification and generally provided sufficient medical care to detainees.  In addressing COVID-19, Otay Mesa did not consistently enforce precautions including use of facial coverings and social distancing.   Overall, we found that Otay Mesa did not meet standards for grievances, segregation, or staff-detainee communications.  Specifically, Otay Mesa did not respond timely to detainee grievances and did not forward staff misconduct grievances to ICE as required.  In addition, Otay Mesa was not consistently providing required services for detainees in segregation including access to recreation, legal calls, laundry, linen exchange, mail, legal materials, commissary, and law library.  Further, ICE did not consistently respond to detainee requests timely and did not specify times for visits with detainees.  Finally, we determined the declining detainee population at Otay Mesa caused ICE to pay more than $22 million for unused bed space under a guaranteed minimum contract.  We made seven recommendations to ICE’s Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations to ensure the San Diego ERO Field Office overseeing Otay Mesa addresses identified issues and ensures facility compliance with relevant detention standards.  ICE concurred with six recommendations and non-concurred with one recommendation.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-61
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • ICE’s Management of COVID-19 in Its Detention Facilities Provides Lessons Learned for Future Pandemic Responses

    Executive Summary

    ICE has taken various actions to prevent the pandemic’s spread among detainees and staff at their detention facilities. At the nine facilities we remotely inspected, these measures included maintaining adequate supplies of PPE such as face masks, enhanced cleaning, and proper screening for new detainees and staff. However, we found other areas in which detention facilities struggled to properly manage the health and safety of detainees. For example, we observed instances where staff and detainees did not consistently wear face masks or socially distance. In addition, we noted that some facilities did not consistently manage medical sick calls and did not regularly communicate with detainees regarding their COVID-19 test results. Although we found that ICE was able to decrease the detainee population to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, information on detainee transfers was limited. We also found that testing of both detainees and staff was insufficient, and that ICE headquarters did not generally provide effective oversight of their detention facilities during the pandemic. Overall, ICE must resolve these issues to ensure it can meet the challenges of not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but future pandemics as well. We made six recommendations to improve ICE’s management of COVID-19 in its detention facilities. ICE concurred with all six recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-58
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • ICE's Oversight of the Capgemini Contract Needs Improvement

    Executive Summary

     Although ICE had controls in place that required Capgemini Government Solutions, LLC to provide qualified labor, ICE did not properly construct or monitor the contract.  This occurred because ICE awarded a firm-fixed-price contract but required a labor-hour performance measurement to monitor and track work hours, which was not appropriate for this type of contract.  The contractor also did not provide the number of staff ICE required for specific labor categories.  As a result, ICE cannot ensure it received all services, and it overpaid $769,869 in labor costs.  Finally, ICE did not ensure the contractor met statement of work requirements for staff skill sets, education, and work experience, nor did it ensure all contractor staff worked at the designated place of performance

    Report Number
    OIG-21-57
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • Violations of ICE Detention Standards at Adams County Correctional Center

    Executive Summary

    During our unannounced inspection of Adams in Natchez, Mississippi, we identified violations of ICE detention standards that threatened the health, safety, and rights of detainees.  Although Adams generally provided sufficient medical care, we identified one case in which the medical unit examined a sick detainee but did not send the detainee to the hospital for urgent medical treatment, and the detainee died.  We also found the medical unit did not document outcomes of detainee sick calls or ensure proper review and follow-up of detainee test results.  In addressing COVID-19, Adams took some measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but detainees did not consistently follow some guidelines, including use of facial coverings and social distancing, which may have contributed to repeated COVID-19 transmissions.  Adams did not meet standards for classification, grievances, segregation, or staff-detainee communications.  Specifically, we discovered a low custody detainee comingled with higher custody detainees, and found the facility did not always identify detainees with special vulnerabilities or those requiring translation services.  Adams also did not respond timely to detainee grievances and was not consistently providing required care for detainees in segregation including access to recreation, legal calls, laundry, linen exchange, mail, legal materials, commissary, law library, and to ICE forms and drop-boxes for detainees to make requests.  In addition, ICE did not consistently respond to detainee requests timely.  Finally, we determined the declining detainee population at Adams resulted in ICE paying more than $17 million for unused bed space under a guaranteed minimum contract.  We made seven recommendations to ICE’s Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to ensure the New Orleans ERO Field Office overseeing Adams addresses identified issues and ensures facility compliance with relevant detention standards.  ICE concurred with all seven recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-46
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • ICE Faces Challenges in Its Efforts to Assist Human Trafficking Victims

    Executive Summary

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not adequately identify and track human trafficking crimes.  Specifically, ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) did not accurately track dissemination and receipt of human trafficking tips, did not consistently take follow-up actions on tips, and did not maintain accurate data on human trafficking. These issues occurred because HSI did not have a cohesive approach for carrying out its responsibilities to combat human trafficking. We made one recommendation to improve ICE’s coordination and human trafficking efforts to assist victims. ICE concurred with our recommendation.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-40
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021