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    As a logistical and political dilemma looms on the southern border, the Biden administration is plunging hundreds of millions of dollars into a long-distressed Texas immigrant detention facility—and, in turn, handing over a huge pay day to a contractor with a history of alleged abuses against detainees and staff. Port Isabel Detention Center spans more than 375 acres in the lower Rio Grande Valley, about an hour’s drive north of downtown Matamorros, Mexico. Visitors have described the coastal area as among the most remote places in the Lone Star State—a place where birds from the neighboring Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge are a more frequent sight on the road than cars. But instead of secluded serenity, a dark history hangs over Port Isabel—as well as over Akima, the controversial company set to assume day-to-day operations of the detention center. In 1989, amid an influx of refugees from Central America, the state’s Catholic bishops labeled it “the largest concentration camp on U.S. soil since the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II.” It’s the place Robert Kahn, a journalist and...
    WASHINGTON, D.C. —  The Biden administration has turned its three migrant family detention centers into facilities for single adults, appearing to halt for now the practice of detaining parents with their children. The move comes as the Department of Homeland Security increasingly uses alternatives to detention, such as ankle monitors and home visits, to track people released into the U.S. as their immigration cases move forward. The agency’s Alternatives to Detention programs are monitoring more than 145,000 people as of this month — an amount nearly doubled from two years ago — according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan research center at Syracuse University. Immigration and Customs Enforcement oversees three facilities that hold parents with children: the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, the Karnes County Family Residential Center near San Antonio and the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. The Dilley facility, with capacity for 2,400 people, is the largest. Asked about the shift, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson said in an email that the agency makes “nimble” operational changes in response...
    Daily Caller reporter Jorge Ventura was denied access to a border facility where the Biden administration is holding thousands of unaccompanied migrant minors.
    HOUSTON (AP) — U.S. immigration authorities will no longer use a small Pennsylvania detention center to hold parents and children seeking asylum, part of a broader shift by President Joe Biden’s administration to reduce the use of family detention. In a court filing Friday, the U.S. government said it had released all families detained at the 96-bed Berks County family detention center in Leesport, Pennsylvania. The detention center will instead be used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold adults, the government said. Families will still be detained at larger detention centers in Karnes City and Dilley in Texas, but the government intends to hold people at those sites for three days or less, the court filing said. Lawyers who work with detained immigrant families welcomed the news and credited the Biden administration for announcing the shift. But they noted that even shorter detention stays could be harmful to children. “Family detention will never truly be over until the facilities are closed and the contracts with ICE end,” said Bridget Cambria, executive director of the legal...
    An immigration court located at the Aurora ICE facility is shutting down hearings for ten days following a large outbreak of COVID-19 among detainees. "Nobody knows what's going on. People are scared. People are anxious. Nobody is getting their court dates," says a detainee who recently tested positive for COVID while staying at the facility, and asked that his name not be used for fear of retaliation. Westword spoke with multiple immigration attorneys who say they were recently told by the court's clerk that hearings would be canceled for ten days.Related Stories COVID Outbreak in Aurora ICE Facility, Nineteen New Positives Detainee Transfers Lead to COVID-19 Increase at Aurora ICE Facility House Subcommittee Report Takes Aim at Aurora Immigrant Detention Facility "When I asked whether it was regarding the COVID outbreak, [the clerk staffer] simply said, 'That’s all of the information we are being given by ICE,'" says immigration attorney Ariana Fuentes, who has a client with an upcoming bond hearing that has now been delayed over three weeks because of the closure. Nicole King, a third-year law student...
    Nineteen detainees in the same dormitory at the Aurora Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, according to a report from Congressman Jason Crow's office, marking the most significant outbreak at that detention center. "This spread within a single dorm shows the inherently dangerous nature of congregate settings like ICE detention centers," says Liz Jordan, an attorney with the Denver-based Civil Rights Enforcement and Education Center. "Even if the facility were following all CDC recommendations, an outbreak like this is not only possible, but likely. The safest thing ICE can do is release people to shelter at home with their families. Aurora Fire Rescue confirmed that it had been notified of the outbreak by facility staffers on October 2, per local ordinance.Related Stories Detainee Transfers Lead to COVID-19 Increase at Aurora ICE Facility Aurora ICE Facility Now Offering COVID-19 Tests to All Detainees House Subcommittee Report Takes Aim at Aurora Immigrant Detention Facility Over the course of the pandemic, nineteen staff members at the center have tested positive for COVID-19, and 73 detainees...
    A group of pro-immigrant activists protested near the Krome detention center facilities over their alleged treatment of Muslim detainees. Wilfredo Ruiz, from the Islamic-American relations council, said that “there have been complaints in religious organizations where they are being served expired food and pork and this violates their religious creed.” Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava sent a letter to Krome expressing her concern about these allegations and requesting that it be fully investigated. “And that is what we want with these demonstrations, that the religion of the detainees be respected. That protects not only the Muslims who are here, the Jews, santeros ”. Gabriela Duarte from the Florida Immigrant Coalition confessed that she was “demanding that ICE not only stop giving them pork but also release them because no one should be in a detention center where their rights are violated.”
    MSNBC's Rachel Maddow used Obama-era pictures of immigrant children sleeping on detention center floors to slam President Donald Trump. Speaking Tuesday on The Rachel Maddow Show, the 47-year-old TV host condemned Trump as images of immigrant children were displayed throughout the news segment. 5Rachel Maddow used Obama-era pictures to slam TrumpCredit: MSNBC 5According to the Associated Press: 'The Obama administration separated migrant children from families under certain limited circumstances'Credit: Getty Images - Getty 5Immigrant children are pictured in a holding shelter in this Obama-era photoCredit: AP:Associated Press However, the unveiled photos - taken in 2014 by an Associated Press photographer - are unrelated to the Trump administration and have previously been misused. Maddow said in the September 15 episode: “In terms of permanent damage done to humans, in terms of the severity of the damage deliberately done to humans, the Trump administration, no matter what else they do, they will never ever get out from the shadow of the fact that they really did. "As a policy and a deliberate practice, they really did take little kids away from their...
    A security guard at a federal building for the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New York City pointed a gun at protesters in a shocking threat caught on video. On Wednesday a protest to abolish ICE unfolded in Manhattan following a whistleblower complaint that immigrant women detained in Georgia allegedly received hysterectomies without consent. Demonstrators gathered inside the Jacob K. Javits Federal building at 26 Federal Plaza to decry the allegedly forced gynecological procedures where they raised their fists, chanted in unison and blared blowhorns. Video from the protest shows the moment a female security guard brandishes a gun and points it directly at the protesters. A female security guard at the Javits Federal building in downtown Manhattan, New York City pointed a gun at protesters who stormed the lobby on Wednesday Protesters were rallying to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and stormed the lobby of the building on Wednesday. As they chanted the guard brandished the gun, pointed it threateningly, then put it away and waved protesters towards the door Demonstrators gathered...
    A whistleblower complaint said a gynecologist was performing questionable hysterectomies at an immigrant detention center in Georgia. Leading congressional Democrats reacted furiously Tuesday to lightly substantiated claims that immigrants held at a detention center in Georgia are undergoing questionable hysterectomies. In a complaint filed Monday, a nurse alleges that the Irwin County Detention Center performed questionable hysterectomies, refused to test detainees for COVID-19 and shredded medical records. A top medical official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement "vehemently" disputing the claims, saying only two women have been referred for hysterectomies from the facility since 2018. Loading...
    Ocilla, Georgia — An immigration detention center in Georgia performed questionable hysterectomies, refused to test detainees for COVID-19 and shredded medical records, according to a nurse quoted in a complaint filed Monday.  The complaint to the Homeland Security Department's internal watchdog relies on accounts of Dawn Wooten, who worked full-time as a licensed practical nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center until July, when she was demoted to work as needed. Wooten calls a gynecologist who works outside the facility "the uterus collector." Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox "Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy - just about everybody," Wooten said. "He's even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady." It was unclear to Wooten if women knowingly consented to the operations. Nurses raised concerns about the doctor, who is unnamed. "These immigrant women, I don't think they really, totally, all the way understand this is what's going to happen depending on who explains it to them," she is quoted saying. Coronavirus: The Race To Respond Explosive charges...
    FARMVILLE, Va. (AP) — Virginia's governor and two U.S. senators urged President Trump to respond to the nation's worst coronavirus outbreak that has occurred inside an immigrant detention center, calling it a “dire situation.” Immigration and Customs Enforcement said 262 undocumented immigrants are being monitored at the privately owned Farmville Detention Center after testing positive for COVID-19, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. Immigrant advocates have called the detention center a “tinderbox” of infection and Gov. Ralph Northam as well as U.S. senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, all Democrats, have urged Trump to send in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help stem the outbreak. The outbreak “presents a clear risk to individuals within the facility, but also endangers the broader community as facility staff and released detainees have interaction with the general public,” Sen. Tim Kaine and Sen. Mark R. Warner wrote in a joint statement Wednesday. A lawsuit filed by immigrant rights groups blames the outbreak on crowded sleeping conditions and infrequent testing. The central Virginia facility is run by Richmond-based Immigration Centers of America. Northam...
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