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Congresswoman Norma Torres

Representing the 35th District of California

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Members of Congress Applaud Announcement of DHS Review of Private Detention Centers

August 30, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Reps. Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL),  John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) issued the following statement in response to the announcement by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson that the Department will review its use of private contractors to operate immigration detention centers. This announcement follows the Department of Justice’s August 18th announcement that it will end its use of for-profit prisons.

 

“We applaud the news that DHS will look into its use of privately-run immigrant detention facilities. The recent decision by DOJ was a recognition that privately-run prisons are not in the interest of taxpayers and fail to reliably provide humane and secure conditions for the incarcerated. We have those same concerns for privately-run immigrant detention facilities, particularly considering ICE currently houses almost 73 percent of detained immigrants in such facilities.1 

 

“While we are pleased that DHS is taking steps to reconsider the role of private detention contractors, we continue to have grave concerns with the use of family detention and the detention of asylum seekers. Further, in those cases where detention is required, we encourage DHS to take steps to implement and enforce applicable detention standards and reassert its commitment to a system that ensures appropriate protections for individuals in its custody.”

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1 Steven Nelson, “Private Prison Companies, Punched in the Gut, Will Keep Most Federal Business.” U.S. News & World Report, August 18, 2016.