Home Social Justice Featured Blog: ICE Detention Centers continue to lowkey abuse and neglect immigrants

Featured Blog: ICE Detention Centers continue to lowkey abuse and neglect immigrants

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“Hunger strike reaches Day 5 at immigration detention center”

“New Study Finds ICE Medical Neglect Proving Deadly for Detention Center Detainees”

“ICE Ignores Immigrants’ Medical Needs In Detention Centers Until They Die”

These headlines paint a pretty grim picture of the state of immigrant detention in the United States.

Where does the U.S.’s human rights record stand if this is how America treats people within its borders?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detention Centers are becoming more notorious by the day for their treatment of the people that they incarcerate.

The thinking seems to be that the people held within their walls are not American citizens so they are not worthy of healthy accommodation or decent treatment.

Let’s run down a list of abuses and negligence.

  • The U.S. Civil Rights Commission issued its annual report and stated that these centers are not complying with federal standards, as well as standards set by themselves. The report suggests that civil and due process rights are not being respected.
  • ICE inspectors do a horrible job of actually inspecting their facilities.
  • Medical care is inadequate and frequently negligent.
  • Abuse from guards is not uncommon, nor is sexual abuse.
  • Treatment of those detained is known to be terrible because the people who have been filtered through them have said so.
  • Historically speaking, when has the U.S. come out on the right side of history by putting people behind walls and borders?

These choices to house immigrants in substandard and harmful living situations are indicative of a broader distaste for immigrants, as well as what should be obvious xenophobic hatred. Immigrant justice and “illegal immigrants” (despise that phrase) often incite dialogues that go downward fast and spiral into the least productive, most disaffectionate conversations imaginable.

On a positive note, organizations like immigrant justice activists, groups, think tanks, political action groups and more are bringing direct attention to these abuses.

A report by the ACLU, Detention Watch Network and National Immigrant Justice Center showed how ICE Detention Centers fail to comply with their own medical standards.

Media across all levels of size and influence are starting to pick up on the inhumanity of these centers. Outlets big and small, corporate and dissident, are taking notice.

The inflammatory words of political figures and jokes like Donald Trump (whose words have illuminated a horrifying consciousness of our national political standing) have shown just how big of an issue there is to tackle. The issue is anti-immigrant and has racist tendencies. These things need stamped out.

Immigration is at the tips of millions of tongues, be it immigrants from Mexico, Central America and nations like China, India and the Philippines. Now is a better time than any for mass demonstration and calls to action on immigrant justice reform. It’s not enough for President Barack Obama to issue orders for systematic change if his administration is also cracking down on families. That order, by the way, is still being examined by the Supreme Court.

Guess what other government entities are distributing violence to immigrant communities? That’s right: government detention centers for “illegal alien” families. The disgusting rhetoric lays bare the distaste for those across ethnic lines.

One of the most daunting chores a government can be tasked with is incarcerating and penalizing its own citizens and other citizens within its borders. The responsibility comes with great responsibility. How sure are we that ICE Detention Centers actually uphold justice and human rights for those detained?


Here are three pieces of media helpful to understanding the problems in Immigrant Detention Centers.

  • The BBC did a report about what ICE Detention Centers are like.
  • This video segment from VOA News profiles a “rare look inside a U.S. Detention Center.”
  • Anthony Loewenstein wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about how refugee families are being taken advantage of by private prisons acting as immigrant detention centers.
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