Biden administration to close two immigration detention centers that came under scrutiny

The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will stop detaining immigrants at two detention centers that came under investigation over allegations of inadequate medical care and poor conditions.

It’s the latest move by the administration to address immigration detention following President Joe Biden’s executive order that called for a review of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s policies. Advocates have pressed the administration on immigration detention, sending a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas late last month calling for the closure of 39 ICE detention facilities.
As of May 14, there were more than 20,400 immigrants in ICE detention, according to the agency.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement will discontinue the use of two centers, the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, which is operated by a private contractor, and the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center in Bristol County, Massachusetts. The agency will also terminate an agreement with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office wherein the federal government and state and local police officers collaborate to enforce federal immigration law.
“We have an obligation to make lasting improvements to our civil immigration detention system,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “This marks an important first step to realizing that goal. DHS detention facilities and the treatment of individuals in those facilities will be held to our health and safety standards. Where we discover they fall short, we will continue to take action as we are doing today.”
Last fall, a whistleblower who previously worked at Irwin detailed a high rate of hysterectomies and alleged medical neglect in a complaint filed to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general. The inspector general has since launched a review into the allegations.
Bristol was the subject of litigation over poor treatment of immigrants. In December, the Massachusetts attorney general released its report on an incident that took place in May 2020 between detainees and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, finding that authorities violated the civil rights of detainees.

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Priscilla Alvarez