Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not own or even maintain immigration detention facilities for the prisoners under its charge. ICE contracts with private companies to operate 211 facilities holding 53,435 prisoners awaiting immigration, asylum and deportation hearings. ICE does have a set of standards these facilities are expected to comply with regarding operations.
A 2017 investigative report of these facilities by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General found many deficiencies between set standards and actual facility operations. The report also stated ICE financially penalized only two of the highlighted non-compliance incidents while issuing hundreds of waivers in others. The report issued a list of recommendations in five areas to be changed. ICE agreed, pledging its future cooperation and compliance.
ICE will enforce a standing Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan (QASP), levying financial penalties when violations occur — rather than waivers.
Closer attention to — and stricter guidance on — will be employed regarding waivers that are issued on deficiencies uncovered under the QASP.
Protocols will be developed to guide the issuance of deficiency reports, ensure all existing and future deficiency waivers are approved by appropriate ICE officials, and a plan developed for adequate staffing to oversee facilities and for inspecting personnel to have full, open and expedient access to the contract documents they need to properly perform their jobs.
Source: Office of the Inspector General document, “ICE Does Not Fully Use Contracting Tools to Hold Detention Facility Contractors Accountable for Failing to Meet Performance Standards”
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