WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari requesting an investigation into the conditions and oversight for detainees held at all Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities.
The Senators are asking that the DHS Office of Inspector General evaluate violations of detention standards and to make that report public.
“We are troubled by continued reports of inhumane treatment at ICE detention facilities that appear to be widespread at facilities housing ICE detainees across the country. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham wrote to you on October 25, 2019, requesting an investigation of conditions at the Otero County Processing Center that are reportedly leading to attempted suicides, and we write in support of a full review of conditions at that facility and all other ICE detention facilities,” wrote the senators.
In addition to an investigation of conditions for detainees, Udall and Heinrich requested a full review of the training that officers, agents, and contractors receive related to the processing, medical evaluation and care, and safety of transgender individuals in DHS custody. The lawmakers cited concerns about reports of surveillance footage relating to the death of Roxana Hernandez in U.S. custody that may have been destroyed.
“Finally, we request that OIG specifically evaluate ICE’s practice of long-term detention of individuals with final removal orders whose home countries refuse to accept them back and the overall cost-effectiveness of long-term detention of individuals who do not present a flight risk or a danger to the community,” wrote the senators.