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Immigration Policies to be Rectified

As a lawyer who specializes in immigration cases, I wanted to discuss this recent article, discussing changes being made to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policies, due to their current ones violating human rights.

The ICE has been utilizing the practice of solitary confinement on over 10,000 immigrants who were detained for various legal issues, a practice which can possibly cause severe, irreparable harm to the mental health of these individuals. The ICE has decided to make the practice of solitary confinement a solution they will use, “only as a last resort,” for those who may cause harm to themselves or others if they are not confined, for example those with mental illness.

According to experts in the field of health and psychology, holding a person in solitary confinement for a period over fourteen consecutive days can cause mental trauma/damage that cannot be reversed. The horrifying reality of ICE policies is that data from this past march has indicated that roughly 300 out of around 30,000 immigrants who were being held by our legal system were in solitary confinement for days on end, a number of which were held for two months or more. One can only imagine the damage being done to the minds of these individuals who have been kept in solitary confinement for such extended periods of time.

Revised policy requires that the officials of the ICE must have written, viable explanation for reasoning they are holding individuals in isolation for a period past two weeks. Similarly, the new adjustments to policy require that a subcommittee be created, to ensure that extended periods of isolation are not enforced. If it is found that isolation over two weeks is still being utilized, that detention center will be put under inspection.

While these policies are a good start, human rights groups have been fighting for an overall banning of the policy of isolation in detention centers. Many of these immigrants being held are not being detained for criminal reasons, but rather to obligate them to be present at their court date, after which they are deported. Since they are not being sentenced to anything, there is no legitimate or just reason for subjecting them to such punishment as solitary.

Further investigation of some of these detention centers have uncovered some shocking and extremely inhumane practices. Individuals being detained have been put in isolation for more than eight months at time, and many detention centers have sent detainees for “infractions,” such as speaking spanish. One facility in Georgia was found to have been restraining those put into solitary and permitting them to exercise outdoors once every thirty days. Similarly, detention centers were found only feeding their prisoners disgusting food as punishment, as well as creating other completely unjust reasons for sending a detained immigrant to solitary confinement.

As an attorney with a specialty in immigrations cases, I find these practices absolutely horrific. It makes one wonder what other types of unfair and illegal treatment immigrants are subject to by our law enforcement officials. It is important that we fight for these people and their rights in order to see that they are treated like humans, as they deserve to be.

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