The Adelanto Detention Facility in Adelanto, California, came under scrutiny by immigration rights groups this year after allegations of abuse and the deaths of two detainees – Fernando Dominguez and Raul Ernesto Morales-Ramos.
Now, two of those groups – Detention Watch Network (DWN) and Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) – have released a report titled “Abuse in Adelanto: An Investigation Into A California Town’s Immigration Jail”. The report claims that hundreds of detainees at the facility have been placed on suicide watch, many have tried to commit suicide, and that there have been incidents of abuse.
The top three complaints laid out in the report are prolonged detentions, lack of access to legal representation, and medical neglect and/or abuse, but they are not the only allegations of maltreatment. There have also been cases of religious freedom violations, especially among those detainees who are Muslim.
As a result of these findings, CIVIC and DWN have issued three priority recommendations to the city of Adelanto, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Congress in order to address the problem not only at the Adelanto Detention Facility but all detention facilities across the country.
The first set of recommendations, issued to the city of Adelanto, calls for its representatives to cease all contracts with ICE and the GEO Group (a company providing correctional, detention and community re-entry services) and pass a moratorium on expanding or creating any jails/detention centers in the city.
The recommendations for ICE request they too cease their contract with Adelanto, as well as asking that they offer more transparency when they release the investigation findings regarding the deaths of Dominguez and Morales-Ramos. It has also been requested that a pro-bono phone line be provided at ADF for civil and human rights groups.
Congress has received the recommendation that it prevent ICE from having any more contracts with private prisons, as well as requesting that it perform an in-depth investigation into GEO’s practices within immigration detention centers. These recommendations are similar to some of the legislation that lawmakers in Congress have already passed this year, like the “Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2015” that was enacted by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in September. The Act addresses monitoring and inspections of detention facilities by either the DHS secretary or an independent and third party auditor, and complements another bill passed by Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva.
CIVIC and DWN’s report also states that “Many of the allegations included in this report are not corroborated due to the closed nature of detention facilities and a pervasive lack of transparency by ICE and GEO; however, the sheer number and consistency of complaints of rights violations point to a crisis within the facility that warrants immediate action.”
If you would like legal consultancy, or would like help for someone you know who has experienced abuse at a detention center like the Adelanto Detention Facility, please get in touch with Daniella Lyttle at Lyttle Law Firm. You can send an enquiry through the website or by calling 512-215-5225.