ICE to stop using Alabama jail and limit use of 3 others
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal immigration authorities announced Friday that they will stop housing inmates at an Alabama prison with a history of problems and limit the use of three other detention centers.
The rulings reinforce Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ commitment to review detention centers to determine if they are humane, meet applicable standards and constitute a responsible use of funding, according to a press release from the agency. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE says it will stop using the Etowah County Jail in Gadsden, Alabama as soon as possible, taking into account a 30-day notification requirement. The prison has “a long history of serious shortcomings”, the statement said.
Advocates who have long called for an end to ICE’s detention at the Etowah County Jail hailed the news as a victory, but urged federal authorities not to simply transfer people from one facility to another. another.
“The Etowah County Detention Center exemplifies just what is wrong with immigration detention and why the detention system must be abolished,” Setareh Ghandehari, advocacy director of Detention Watch Network, said in a statement. Press. “The administration can and must do more to completely eliminate the use of migrant detention by continuing to terminate contracts, close additional facilities, and release people from detention.”
Etowah County Sheriff Jonathon Horton told the Gadsden Times the decision to stop sending inmates to jail ‘was just a bombshell’ and that he was working with members of the Congressional delegation of Alabama for more information.
Just this week, the center was told 135 inmates would come next week, he said. “Nobody canceled that,” Horton said.
ICE said it would also limit its use of the Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven, Florida; the Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, Louisiana; and the Alamance County Detention Center in Graham, North Carolina.
ICE has already reduced its use of Glades County facilities in recent years, in part due to “persistent and ongoing concerns related to the provision of medical care to inmates.” But he was still paying for a minimum number of beds and has now decided not to extend that guaranteed minimum bed provision. Future use of the facility will depend on conditions meeting detention standards, the agency said.
Rebecca Talbot of the Immigrant Action Alliance credited the organization and resistance with changing ICE policy regarding the Glades County settlement.
“Draining Glades, ending the guaranteed minimum, and requiring Glades to fully meet conditions that do not meet detention standards are all huge steps in the right direction,” Immigrant Action Alliance’s Rebecca Talbot said in a statement. hurry. “Now is the time for the Biden administration to commit to closing Glades completely and forever, and releasing those who have been transferred from Glades to other facilities.”
ICE used the Alamance County facility for long-term detention, but says it will now only use it for stays of less than 72 hours if applicable standards are met. The agency said it was concerned about the conditions, including the lack of outdoor recreation.
ICE plans to reduce the guaranteed minimum at the Winn Correctional Center to match the facility’s staffing constraints, the statement said. ICE will also assign a custodial resource coordinator to provide an assessment and will monitor conditions and take necessary action, the statement said.
Acting ICE Director Tae Johnson told staff to begin preparations, including relocating ICE staff and inmates as needed. The agency said it plans to continue to review other detention centers and adjust its use as necessary.