TUCSON, Ariz. — The Latest on the use of private contractors for immigration detention facilities (all times local):
An organization behind protests against the use of private contractors to run immigration detention facilities says it welcomes news that the Department of Homeland Security is rethinking the practice.
Carlos Garcia of Puente Movement in Arizona says immigration detention centers operated by private companies are dangerous for immigrants. He cited several deaths and a massive measles outbreak at the Eloy Detention Center in the state as an example.
DHS announced Monday that an independent council is reviewing whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement should keep using private contractors.
ICE says it’s committed to providing a safe and humane environment for detainees and that its detention centers reduce transfers, maximize access to lawyers and ensure quality medical care.
The Department of Homeland Security is reviewing whether it should keep some immigration detention facilities under private operators amid pressure from activists to end the practice.
Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday that he’s instructed a committee to review the matter. He said the decision came after the Obama administration announced over a week ago that it was phasing out use of some private prisons.
Forty-six of the approximately 180 facilities in which ICE holds immigrants are privately run.
Advocates say some facilities are unsafe, citing 14 deaths at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona since 2014. The center is privately operated.
But ICE says it’s committed to providing a safe and humane environment for detainees and that its detention centers reduce transfers, maximize access to lawyers and ensure quality medical care.
This story has been corrected to show that 46 facilities are privately run.