The United States maintains the largest immigration detention system on the entire planet. According to the Detention Watch Network, a coalition committed to exposing injustice in the immigration system, more than 430,000 people enter into ICE detention facilities every single year.
Alarmingly, there are serious concerns of the treatment that people receive when they are kept inside these facilities. Public records from ICE indicate that at least 141 people have died in agency custody since the year 2003. Many thousands more report suffering mistreatment. Now. as President Donald Trump continues to call for more detention and harsh tactics, immigrant rights groups are worried that the problem is only going to get worse.
ICE Detainee Deaths are Rising
Earlier this year, a Salvadoran man in his 40s died in ICE custody after he was admitted to a local New Jersey hospital with serious internal bleeding. That death marked the tenth fatality at an ICE detention center within this fiscal year, the most in any year since 2011. As with many of the other deaths, there are legitimate questions about whether this tragedy could have been avoided had better care been given at the facility. Unfortunately, substandard care remains a major problem. Immigration activists note that one of the single biggest problems is that the United States is simply detaining far too many people for the capacity of the system. ICE facilities are overcrowded, leading to innocent people receiving unconscionably poor treatment.
The Trump Administration is Pushing to Detain More People
In the early months of the Trump Administration, increased immigration enforcement has resulted in a higher number of detentions. According to reporting from the New York Times, immigration arrests in the first three months of 2017 were nearly 40 percent higher than they were over the same period in 2016. With more arrests almost inevitably comes an increase in the number of detainees.
The average number of people in an ICE detention facility on any given day is now nearly 40,000. To put this number into perspective, Detention Watch Network reports that in 2014 the average number of people detained each day was 34,000, in 1994, the average number was only 5,000. While ICE has been dramatically expanding immigration detention, the federal government has done much less to expand its overall capacity. The result of this policy is clear: More and more immigrants are being subjected to poor conditions inside U.S. detention facilities. Tragically, the already poor conditions are slowly beginning to deteriorate even further.
Do You Need Immigration Help?
Our Los Angeles immigration lawyers are standing by, ready to help. At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, we handle all aspects of immigration law for immigrants in L.A. If you have any questions about an immigration detention facility, please contact us today at (213) 514-8870 to set up a fully confidential review of your case. From our office in the heart of Los Angeles, we represent clients throughout Southern California, including in Torrance, Downey and Inglewood.