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La Palma OIG Report, Feb 2022

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February 17, 2022

The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

Mr. Tae D. Johnson
Acting Director
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
500 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20536

Dear Secretary Mayorkas and Acting Director Johnson:

As you are aware, on March 30, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security Office of
Inspector General (OIG) released a report outlining violations of detention standards at the
La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. 1 We welcomed the news of this report
given that La Palma has an abhorrent history of mistreatment and abuse. However, almost
a year later, we write to express our concerns regarding the implementations of those
recommendations especially as they relate to medical care access, solitary confinement
practices and providing detainees in segregation with access to activities and services
outlined in the 2011 Performance-Based National Detention Standards (2011 PBNDS). We
request that a full investigation is completed to ensure that individuals are not being
deprived of their rights and that the 2011 PBNDS are being upheld.
This is a timely investigation as Governor Ducey recently announced a contract to transfer
individuals to La Palma under the care of CoreCivic, a private prison company. Arizona is
set to transfer 2,706 individuals.2 It is imperative that La Palma rectifies its detention
standard violations before accepting an influx of individuals that may be susceptible to the
same mistreatment and denied critical care and services. For those reasons, we ask that you
conduct a full investigation and work in good faith to implement the recommendations
outlined by the OIG report that remain unresolved.
There are two areas of concern that we request your immediate attention to including
access to critical services and care for segregated individuals. According to the OIG report,
“the facility was not consistently providing required care, including no exchange of laundry
and soiled bedding and clothing, no legal materials, no haircuts, limited recreation, no


access to the commissary for detainees who are in administrative segregation, and no
masks in response to COVID-19.”
The second area of concern is regarding medical care access and solitary confinement
practices We are sharing an account obtained by a nongovernmental organization that
conducts work with individuals previously detained at La Palma to highlight some of these
deficiencies in care and treatment.
“A father who had been living in the US for 20 years before ICE detained him
reported that during his 4.5 months in detention, he was denied medical attention
multiple times at La Palma Correctional Center (LPCC) in Eloy, AZ. A week after
he was detained, he reported urinary tract infection symptoms to a guard, who
assured him he would be seen by a doctor but did not follow up. It was not until 4
days later, when the man’s symptoms had worsened and he pleaded with another
guard, that he finally received treatment for the infection. Soon after, he suffered a
fall down the stairs during which he twisted his ankle and injured his knee to the
point that he was unable to walk. The others who were detained with him insisted
that no one try to help him get up because if they did, the medics would not come.
Medical personnel in the facility tried to force the man to walk on his injured leg
several times. The guards decided to respond to his injury by putting him in solitary
confinement in a cell that had blood on the walls. When he requested that the cell
be cleaned, the guard responded that he would not get out of that cell until he could
walk. He was held in solitary confinement for 12 days due to his injury, during
which the cell was never cleaned, and he was not allowed to leave the cell. After
that experience, he chose not to report other illnesses for fear of being sent to
solitary confinement again.”
Not only was this individual denied timely medical care, but he was placed in solitary
confinement because of his legitimate grievances. Unfortunately, this account is consistent
with the findings of the OIG report, which found La Palma did not provide timely care to
detainees making sick call requests and concluded that “waiting days or weeks to provide
medical care to detainees for acute sick call issues violates the standard for timely followup to detainee health needs.” 3 We ask that you carefully revisit detainee medical care
access and solitary confinement practices.
We once again reiterate our concerns over the treatment of individuals at La Palma and
hope you work to resolve the urgent pending recommendations made by the OIG report.
There is no reasonable justification to increase the number of individuals housed at La
Palma until these pending issues are resolved. We look forward to a full investigation and
implementation of all recommendations outlined.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.



Raúl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress

Greg Stanton
Member of Congress

Ruben Gallego
Member of Congress

Ann Kirkpatrick
Member of Congress

Tom O’Halleran
Member of Congress