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Yesterday, NIJC filed a complaint on behalf of an individual, A.R.*, who is experiencing severe abuses and life-threatening conditions in immigration detention. The complaint asks the Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) to investigate the reported abuses, including violations of disability rights, and recommends A.R.’s immediate release so that she can pursue her immigration case from a safe and healthy environment.

A.R. has been held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention for over a year in ICE’s South Louisiana Processing Center. During this time, she has suffered sexual assault, physical attacks on her life from other people in this facility, and experienced negligent medical care and improper use of solitary confinement. 

According to A.R.: “I spoke to the psychologist, and they told me that they were going to give me therapy in this detention center. I have been here for a year and four months now. A lot of bad things have happened to me. People in the facility have touched my body sexually, beaten me, and immigration officials sent me to my home country where my life is in danger. I feel very bad psychologically. I’m traumatized by everything that happened to me. Here I am – a person who has mental health issues. I am bi-polar and suffer from anxiety. I have pre-diabetes and suffer from high blood pressure, and I have a cyst on my right shoulder. I want to be alive and released from here so I can be with my children and my grandson. Please help me, I should be released from here. I don’t want to suffer anymore.” 

Guards and ICE officials responsible for the care of people in ICE custody in South Louisiana Processing Center have allowed a climate to persist where sexual and physical assault is permitted. As a result, A.R. fears for her safety, and is suffering from rapidly worsening anxiety and mental strain resulting from her conditions in an unsafe ICE detention facility.

ICE has failed to meet its own minimum standards of care for people held in the South Louisiana detention center. ICE is not safely housing individuals in this facility, and failing to address deficiencies that allow these offenses to continue without accountability. CRCL should investigate this complaint and take prompt action to ensure accountability and A.R.’s release so that she does not face further abuse and deterioration of her physical and mental health. 

*NIJC is using a pseudonym in order to protect the safety and privacy of the complainant.

Read the cover letter of the complaint here