Common Issues Immigrants Face In Detention Centers

Lock on a wire security fence in fron of an industrial style building

Caryl Stern, president of the USCIS, once said, “Detention for any length of time, with or without families, is bad for children.” If the conditions are detrimental for children, it’s without a doubt that it affects adults, just the same. Immigration lawyers not only work to keep immigrant families from being held in detention centers but they also work in efforts to remove them if they have been ordered to reside in a center, temporarily. But what exactly makes these centers a chaotic experience for most? We take an inside look at some of the conditions that migrants typically have to tolerate in detention centers all across the country. 

Limited Resources 


Families, all too often, have complained about not having enough soap to bathe themselves with, inaccessible places to go to the restroom, even inadequate amounts of toothpaste. What makes matters worse is that most detainees are forced to undergo and work with limited resources for months on end. Furthermore, most of these centers fail to provide materials for first-time parents such as diapers, formula, and much more. It doesn’t help that parents usually can’t wash their own materials due to the lack of water and cleaning solutions as well.  


Unsanitary Conditions 


What makes these centers often an unhealthy environment to reside is the lack of cleaning supplies. Since soap is scarce, there is not much cleaning that can be done. Detainees are also limited to the amount of water they can use. Due to these minimal efforts, many detainees have complained about how dirty the centers can be and how fast residue builds. Although cleaning staff are usually assigned to clean these centers, it can be hard to keep up with so many families being held. 


Lack of Medical Care and Staff 


In these conditions, detainees are much more susceptible to becoming sick or injured. Detention centers are ordered to contact medical experts and assistants when it is necessary. Although, some of these doctors are usually far out of reach and may come at a time when it is already too late. By not having immediate care, death rates have gone up in these facilities. For more fatality rates, more lawsuits are being held against these centers, all of which obtain numbers that they can’t pay. 


High Infection Rates 


Where there are unsanitary living conditions, there are high infection rates. Temperatures are usually extremely cold with lights on twenty fours hours a day, as doctors and pediatricians have witnessed. Some of the most common infections that spread within these facilities include flu, lice, chickenpox, and scabies. These infections usually start out with symptoms such as fever, cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. The children in these detention centers are more prone to catching these infections as opposed to the adults, nonetheless, the rates are high. 


Invasion of Privacy


Families in detention centers usually request space to themselves, but this is not offered nor given. Most of these migrants are undergoing harsh times, therefore it can be hard to cope with what they dealing with when they are forced to share rooms and facilities with other migrants. Even worse, when migrants are patted down to be checked for prohibited items, some have reported being groped and inappropriately touched. Lack of respect is especially prevalent in these detrimental situations. 


Tight Space


Most detention facilities barely have enough beds. Some reports have emerged in the news regarding children who have had to sleep on concrete floors or tough slabs. Some of the adults have had to sacrifice laying down at all, having to stand up for days due to inefficient space. Furthermore, reports have come up stating that detention centers usually attempt to cram 900 people into a space that is designed to accommodate 125 at most. It’s evident that there isn’t much comfort, much less room, for these migrants to adapt to. 


Who Exactly Is Being Held In These Detention Centers? 


The vast majority of migrants that are ordered to stay in these detention centers are seeking to flee from violence in Northern Triangle countries including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Currently, more than 50,000 people are currently being held and detained in ICE facilities, in which half a fifth of this number is comprised of children. 


Fight the Battles of Immigration with the Experts at Fong Ilagan 

Here at Fong Ilagan, we believe it is our duty to serve justice where it is deemed necessary. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you in your case and help you manifest a smooth transition into the U.S.


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