California Officials Find that Immigrants Face Harsh Conditions in ICE Detention Facilities

According to reporting from NBC Southern California, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has determined that detainees are facing harsh conditions in California’s federal immigration facilities. In a report released by the State of California Department of Justice (DOJ), regulators released a comprehensive review of the ten federal immigration facilities located in the state:

  • Adelanto ICE Processing Center;
  • Imperial Regional Detention Facility;
  • James A. Musick Facility;
  • Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility;
  • Otay Mesa Detention Center;
  • Theo Lacy Facility;
  • Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility;
  • West County Detention Facility;
  • Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center; and
  • Yuba County Jail.

Although the report makes it clear that the experience faced by people in ICE facilities varies from detainee to detainee, it also notes that many common problems were found throughout the entire system.

Five Common Problems in Immigration Detention Facilities in California

1. Lengthy Periods of Confinement

One of the most alarming findings included in the report is severe restrictions on liberty being placed on many detainees. The California DOJ found that some detainees are being in a cell for as many as 22 hours each day. Specifically, the Theo Lacy facility, which is located in Orange County, California, was deemed the worst offender for subjecting migrants to extreme periods of confinement.

2. Inadequate Access to Basic Health Services

Far too many detainees in ICE facilities are not receiving access to proper medical care or to necessary mental health services. There have long been concerns raised over the lack of adequate healthcare services offered in ICE detention facilities. This report confirms that there are still serious problems.  

3. Major Language Barriers

Language barriers are another significant issue. While some facilities offer Spanish-speaking services, the California Attorney General determined that most detention centers have an insufficient number of Spanish-speaking employees on site. For detainees who do not speak English or Spanish, communicating can be deeply challenging. Notably, the report found that there are currently people from more than 150 different countries being detained in ICE facilities in the state of California.

4. Little Communication With Family Members

Once an immigrant is in detention, it is very difficult for them to communicate with the outside world. Most of the ICE facilities are located in remote areas — they are not accessible by public transportation. In addition, it can be difficult for friends and family members to make contact with a detainee by phone. Phone calls are both restricted and expensive.

5. Lack of Professional Legal Representation

Finally, most detainees lack professional legal representation. This is a very serious problem. As individuals in immigration hearings lack the right to receive a court-appointed lawyer, getting access to legal guidance can be difficult. There is overwhelming evidence that people get better results if they hire an immigration attorney.

Get Help From an Immigration Lawyer in Los Angeles

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, we handle all types of immigration cases. If your loved one is currently detained and is facing deportation, our legal team is here to help. To arrange a confidential case evaluation, please reach out to our Los Angeles law office by calling (213) 262-2000.