California officials: Immigration facilities lack oversight

California

Attorney General Xavier Becerra released the results of a report looking into immigrant detention facilities in the state.

The report showed access to legal, health and family services is inadequate at California immigration detention facilities.

“We hope other states are watching because everyone has constitutional rights,” said Becerra. 

The Attorney General’s office spent a year examining ten immigration facilities, both public and private.

Overall, the office found facilities across the state held detainees in confinement without breaks for long periods of time, sometimes up to 22 hours.

The report described significant barriers when it came to language, external communication, access to legal help and health care. The Attorney General’s office blaming a lack of federal oversight for the problems.

“When you see detainees housed for 22 hours a day, that complies with federal detention standards. But it’s definitely not humane. The Department of homeland security has released a report saying ICE does not follow up with facilities when they do violate standards, so there’s definitely violation standards happening but ICE isn’t doing anything to enforce,” said Deputy Attorney General Vilma Palma-Solana.

Mental health is another concern.

At the state’s only locked youth immigration detention facility in Yolo County the report says nine children either attempted to kill themselves or began cutting themselves since entering the facility, as staff failed to address trauma the children had been through.

“To hear that youth are coming crossing multiple borders fleeing violence, persecution, a lot of trauma and being retraumatized in many way in the center and not getting proper mental health services, that was soul crushing,” said Marisol Leon, Deputy Attorney General . 

The Attorney General says his office will continue keeping an eye on facilities.

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