In the past five years, an immigration hotline has reportedly received more than 15,000 calls regarding patterns of racism and abuse in the U.S. immigration detention system. Immigrant advocate groups analyzed recorded phone calls, noting keywords, such as ”medical neglect,” ”assault,” and other terms that suggest abuse or prejudice against certain detainees, particularly those who are members of the black community. A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement denied the allegations, stating that the agency ensures the safety of all detained immigrants, regardless of race or ethnicity.
The spokesperson said that detention officials are held to the highest of standards and that the agency is committed to providing appropriate living conditions for all immigrants who are detained. The official also stated that the department takes complaints seriously and thoroughly investigates each one. However, at least one immigrant advocacy group that has researched the topic concluded that black immigrants are placed in solitary confinement much more often than non-black immigrants in detention.
Immigrants have spoken out about discrimination
Numerous immigrants have spoken publicly about abusive behavior from detention guards. For instance, one woman said that a guard lunged at her and used racial slurs against her as she waited in line for the commissary. She also said that she believed that the guard’s behavior was retaliation against her for complaints she had filed in recent weeks prior to the commissary incident. The woman said that other staff members restrained the guard, which prevented a physical attack.
Are guards telling immigrants to go back to their own countries?
The Bahamian woman who has reported incidents of prejudice and abuse in immigration detention centers stated that guards yell at immigrants, telling them if they don’t like the treatment they receive, they should leave the United States and return to their countries of origin. Immigrant advocate groups say that the woman’s experience is not an isolated event but is evidence of a systemic issue that is placing many black immigrants throughout Florida and the rest of the United States at risk. Any adult who has encountered such problems and wishes to seek redress and accountability may want to discuss his or her case with an experienced immigration law attorney.