*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

The Real Conditions Inside Immigration Detention Centers in Los Angeles

Committed and Caring Immigration Lawyer Advocates for Immigrants’ Rights in Los Angeles

In today’s charged political climate, it can be difficult to learn the truth about any subject or issue. Those on one side of the political spectrum will have one opinion while those on the opposite end of the spectrum will say the opposite. This is especially true when it comes to the conditions immigrants in California’s immigration detention centers face. Republican lawmakers and activists tend to hold out these centers as providing humane care and treatment for individuals who are awaiting deportation or other hearings while Democrat lawmakers and activists tend to highlight news reports of abuses that take place in such centers and deplorable living conditions immigrants and their families endure while housed in such centers.

Immigrants Describe Some Centers as a “Nightmare”

In a recent article featured in the Los Angeles Times, Daniel Usman was asked to describe his four-month stay at the Theo Lacy Detention Facility in Orange County, California. Mr. Usman’s description was not flattering: instead, he described the facility as a “nightmare” and that he had been treated unjustly. Some of the abuses Mr. Usman claimed included being confined in a cold area without an appropriate coat, being given substandard medical care, and being mistreated by staff members.

Theo Lacy is a privately-operated facility, much like the Adelanto Detention Facility just north and east of Los Angeles. Adelanto was the site of a hunger strike late last year launched by a group of immigrants who demanded that they either be released on their own recognizance or be granted reasonable bonds pending resolution of their cases. The conditions in these privately-run facilities have been so concerning that state legislators recently proposed the Dignity Not Detention Act. The Act aims to close privately-run facilities and prevent California cities from contracting with private agencies and corporations by allowing immigrants who have been abused or mistreated to file claims for compensation against the operator of the facility.

Abuse Prevalent at Detention Centers

Immigrant detention facilities are not unique to California: a number of other similar facilities exist in various states throughout the country. California’s Adelanto and Theo Lacy facilities are, unfortunately, not unique cases amongst the nation’s detention centers. Various advocacy groups and news outlets, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), describe instances of sexual and other abuse carried out against immigrants by staff amongst other inhumane and unjust treatment. For example, the ACLU found in Arizona’s detention centers that:

  • Immigrants are being placed on lockdown for minor or trivial offenses such as failing to make a bed or moving too slowly;
  • There is little accountability for workers who abuse immigrants or allow abuse to occur and immigrants’ grievances are generally ignored;
  • Vulnerable populations such as the elderly, women, children, and those with mental or physical handicaps are at an increased risk of physical and sexual abuse;
  • Medical care provided to immigrants does not meet established standards.

There is little reason to believe that the conditions reported in Arizona are any different from those in other detention facilities in Los Angeles or throughout the rest of the country. To make matters worse, some immigrants detained in these facilities have had to endure these conditions for months – in some cases years – before their cases could be heard by an immigration judge.

Hope for Detained Immigrants May Be Coming

As more and more light is shed on the conditions at Los Angeles’ immigrant detention center at Adelanto and at other centers, lawmakers appear more inclined to make legislative changes necessary to protect the basic human rights of immigrants detained at such facilities. One of the most basic of rights that immigrants should expect is the right not to be detained indefinitely or for an unreasonably long period of time without seeing a judge, being informed of the nature of the allegations against them, and/or be allowed to post a reasonable bond pending their deportation proceedings.

Until such time that these rights are firmly established in law, immigrants who find themselves in detention centers like Adelanto can benefit from the advice and representation of an aggressive and zealous immigration attorney in Los Angeles like the attorneys at theGoldstein Immigration Lawyers. We dedicate ourselves to helping immigrants who find themselves in a Los Angeles detention center, fighting to protect their basic human rights and obtain a favorable resolution to their deportation proceedings. Contact us right away for assistance by calling (213) 262-2000 or contact us online for assistance.