Sunday, January 21, 2007
From NPR.com: Some non-U.S. citizens detained by the government for violating immigration laws are kept in rat-infested, cramped detention centers, fed noxious food and denied basic hygiene items such as clean socks and underpants.
Those are the findings of a new study from the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, the agency's internal watchdog. The report found that the agency violated the government's own guidelines on the treatment of immigrant detainees in jails and prisons.
Christina Deconcini helped write the Justice Department's official guidelines for the treatment of immigrant detainees in the 1990s. She says the average U.S. citizen would be appalled by the allegations in the report and failure to respond to grievances which it documents.
"I think they'd be amazed by some of the allegations of abuse and the lack of response to that," Deconcini says.
The Homeland Security Department detains hundreds of thousands of non-citizens every year in county jails and federal prisons. Most of these people are being held on charges of violating civil immigration laws. Thousands of others are detained while they apply for asylum.