We found violations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention standards undermining the protection of detainees’ rights and the provision of a safe and healthy environment. Although the conditions varied among the facilities and not every problem was present at each, our observations, interviews with detainees and staff, and review of documents revealed several common issues. At three facilities, we found segregation practices infringing on detainee rights. Detainees at all four facilities had difficulties resolving issues through the grievance and communication systems, including allegations of verbal abuse by staff. Two facilities had issues with classifying detainees according to their risk levels, which could affect safety. Lastly, we identified living conditions at three facilities that violate ICE standards. We recommended the Acting Director of ICE ensure the Enforcement and Removal Operations field offices overseeing the detention facilities covered in the report address identified issues and ensure facility compliance with relevant detention standards. We made one recommendation that will help ICE ensure compliance with detention standards. ICE concurred with the recommendation.
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- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-20-45Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaKeywordsFiscal Year2020
- Executive Summary
The Department of Homeland Security U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) repatriates thousands of aliens every year. In this review, we sought to identify barriers to the repatriation of detained aliens with final orders of removal. Our case review of 3,053 aliens not removed within the prescribed 90-day timeframe revealed that the most significant factors delaying or preventing repatriation are external and beyond ICE’s control. The two predominant factors delaying repatriation are legal appeals and obtaining travel documents. Internally, ICE’s challenges with staffing and technology also diminish the efficiency of the removal process.Report NumberOIG-19-28Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2019
ICE Does Not Fully Use Contracting Tools to Hold Detention Facility Contractors Accountable for Failing to Meet Performance StandardsExecutive Summary
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contracts with 106 detention facilities to detain removable aliens. In FY 2017, these 106 facilities held an average daily population of more than 25,000 detainees. Since the beginning of FY 2016, ICE has paid more than $3 billion to the contractors operating these 106 facilities. Despite documentation of thousands of deficiencies and instances of serious harm to detainees that occurred at these detention facilities, ICE rarely imposed financial penalties. ICE should ensure that detention contracts include terms that permit ICE to hold contractors to performance standards and impose penalties when those standards are not maintained.Report NumberOIG-19-18Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2019
- Executive Summary
We examined whether ICE is effectively overseeing and managing the 287(g) program as it expands. Under the 287(g) program, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) delegates authority to state and local law enforcement agencies to help ICE in its immigration enforcement mission in their jurisdictions. After the Executive Order was issued, the 287(g) program expanded quickly, it rose from 36 to 76. ICE approved 40 additional applicants without planning for a corresponding increase in program management staffing, determining how to promptly deliver needed information technology (IT) equipment to participants, or ensuring participants are fully trained.
Without effective oversight, it is difficult to monitor and measure performance to determine whether program participants are assisting ICE in its immigration enforcement mission. Further, without the necessary equipment and training, program participants may not be acting as a force multiplier to identify removable aliens. ICE may also not be able to fully expand the program and include new localities interested in participating.Report NumberOIG-18-77Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2018
ICE's Inspections and Monitoring of Detention Facilities Do Not Lead to Sustained Compliance or Systemic ImprovementsExecutive Summary
Neither type of inspection ICE uses to examine detention facilities ensures consistent compliance with detention standards or comprehensive correction of identified deficiencies. Specifically, because the Nakamoto inspection scope is too broad, ICE’s guidance on procedures is unclear, and Nakamoto’s inspection practices are not consistently thorough, its inspections do not fully examine actual conditions or identify all compliance deficiencies. In contrast, ODO uses effective methods and processes to thoroughly inspect facilities and identify deficiencies, but the inspections are too infrequent to ensure the facilities implement all corrections. Moreover, ICE does not adequately follow up on identified deficiencies or systematically hold facilities accountable for correcting deficiencies, which further diminishes the usefulness of both Nakamoto and ODO inspections.Report NumberOIG-18-67Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2018
- Executive Summary
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) faces challenges in implementing the Known or Suspected Terrorist Encounter Protocol (KSTEP) screening process, which is used to identify aliens who may be known or suspected terrorists. Although ERO uses KSTEP to screen all aliens who are in ICE custody, ERO policy does not require continued screening of the approximately 2.37 million aliens when released and under ICE supervision. We sampled and tested 40 of 142 ERO case files of detained aliens identified as known or suspected terrorists during fiscal years 2013–15. All 40 files had at least one instance of noncompliance with KSTEP policy, generating greater concerns regarding the population of aliens screened and determined to have no connections to terrorism.Report NumberOIG-18-36Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2018
- Executive Summary
In response to concerns raised by immigrant rights groups and complaints to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline about conditions for detainees held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, we conducted unannounced inspections of five detention facilities to evaluate their compliance with ICE detention standards. We identified problems that undermine the protection of detainees’ rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment. Although the climate and detention conditions varied among the facilities and not every problem was present at all of them, our observations, interviews with detainees and staff, and our review of documents revealed several issues. Upon entering some facilities, detainees were housed incorrectly based on their criminal history. Further, in violation of standards, all detainees entering one facility were strip searched. Available language services were not always used to facilitate communication with detainees. Some facility staff reportedly deterred detainees from filing grievances and did not thoroughly document resolution of grievances. Staff did not always treat detainees respectfully and professionally, and some facilities may have misused segregation. Finally, we observed potentially unsafe and unhealthy detention conditions.Report NumberOIG-18-32Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2018