Report Shows ICE Almost Never Punishes Contractors Housing Detainees No Matter How Many Violations They Rack Up

from the failing-to-meet-the-super-low-expectations-we-have-for-ICE dept

ICE continues to make its own case for abolishment. The agency busies itself with neglecting detainees when not acting as the extension of major corporations to shut down infringing panties/websites. ICE is too big and it’s getting bigger at a rate it can’t sustain. To achieve the ends the President has set down for it, it’s wearing itself thin trying to find the dangerous immigrants Trump keeps talking about or the bound-and-gagged women he insists are being brought across the border by the truckload.

It seemingly doesn’t have the manpower to even capture just dangerous foreigners. Instead of using its resources more carefully, it’s doing things like setting up fake colleges to capture dangerous criminals immigrants seeking educational opportunities. And it’s continuing to outsource its responsibilities while taking an apparent hands-off approach to third party detention.

ICE’s Inspector General released a report last summer stating the agency was failing to inspect detention facilities often enough or well enough. It found contractors performing government work were doing the job poorly. Detainees weren’t being interviewed properly or given translators to overcome speech barriers. In some cases, detention personnel were not giving detainees access to services like phone calls to the ICE officers handling their cases. In some facilities, dangerous detainees were intermingled with non-criminals. In almost every case, ICE issued a waiver for deficiencies it actually observed. As far as the OIG could tell, dozens of deficiencies went unnoticed thanks to ICE’s inability (or unwillingness) to perform mandatory inspections.

There’s more bad news coming from the OIG’s office about ICE’s use of contractors to handle detainees. The latest report [PDF] delves into ICE’s apparent unwillingness to hold anyone accountable. ICE can’t be trusted to police itself, so it obviously can’t be trusted to police its contractors.

This is the Inspector General’s ultra-dry summary of the problems it discovered:

ICE does not adequately hold detention facility contractors accountable for not meeting performance standards. ICE fails to consistently include its quality assurance surveillance plan (QASP) in facility contracts. The QASP provides tools for ensuring facilities meet performance standards. Only 28 out of 106 contracts we reviewed contained the QASP.

That’s only the beginning of it. From this missing paperwork, ICE moves even further away from anything resembling accountability. As was detailed in the last report, the IG points out ICE’s “solution” to the few deficiencies it does decide to do anything about is the issuance of waivers, which magically make deficiencies acceptable protocol. ICE calls this a “multilayered” approach. The IG calls it nonexistent.

Between October 1, 2015, and June 30, 2018, ICE imposed financial penalties on only two occasions, despite documenting thousands of instances of the facilities’ failures to comply with detention standards. Instead of holding facilities accountable through financial penalties, ICE issued waivers to facilities with deficient conditions, seeking to exempt them from having to comply with certain detention standards. However, ICE has no formal policies and procedures about the waiver process and has allowed officials without clear authority to grant waivers. ICE also does not ensure key stakeholders have access to approved waivers.

To be more precise, ICE only imposed financial penalties twice, despite observing a jaw-dropping 14,003 deficiencies over the course of three years. ICE is blowing taxpayer money and expecting nothing in return. What’s detailed in this report — along with the IG release from last year — is an agency repeatedly abusing the public’s trust.

Our review of the corresponding payment data identified about $3.9 million in deductions, representing only 0.13 percent of the more than $3 billion in total payments to contractors during the same timeframe. ICE did not impose any withholdings during this timeframe.

When the agency whitewashes bad behavior by contractors, there’s no paper trail. There’s no follow up. And everyone involved seems to have no idea what’s going on other than no one’s going to be held responsible for their actions.

We analyzed the 68 waiver requests submitted between September 2016 and July 2018. Custody Management approved 96 percent of these requests, including waivers of safety and security standards.

Despite this high approval rate, ICE could not provide us with any guidance on the waiver process. Key officials admitted there are no policies, procedures, guidance documents, or instructions to explain how to review waiver requests. The only pertinent documents that ICE provided were examples of memoranda that Field Office Directors could use to request waivers of the detention standards’ provisions on strip searches. However, the memoranda did not acknowledge the important constitutional and policy interests implicated by a facility’s use of strip searches. ICE officials did not explain how Custody Management should handle such waiver requests when a contrary contractual provision requires compliance with a strip search standard.

ICE is handing out waivers for private companies to violate Constitutional protections afforded to detainees. These waivers are almost always indefinite. Each waiver is supposed to be followed up on to ensure the “deficiency” has been eliminated by the contractor. ICE has performed zero reviews or reassessments of these waivers.

The waivers have approved unconstitutional strip searches, as detailed above. They’ve also approved the commingling of violent criminals in general population, and the use of a chemical ten times more toxic than pepper spray to subdue detainees. As the report notes, detainees are being seriously harmed by the lax standards deployed by contractors, and ICE’s response has been to shrug and issue waivers.

ICE is an active partner in the dehumanizing of immigrants, allowing private contractors to treat the human beings they’re supposed to be taking care of like pieces of meat to be exchanged for cash. It’s no better than ICE treats detainees itself, but a federal agency should be ensuring its very existence isn’t a cancerous growth on the soul of this nation.

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Comments on “Report Shows ICE Almost Never Punishes Contractors Housing Detainees No Matter How Many Violations They Rack Up”

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Homeless shelters are not places of incarceration. You don’t go to a shelter because you broke a law, you go to a shelter because you don’t have a home and need somewhere with a roof to sleep.

The homeless are not automatically criminals – they are not automatically homeless due to breaking a law. That you suggest they are shows either a serious lack of understanding of what leads to homelessness, or that you have serious prejudice going on, or possibly both.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Often, undocumented aliens or individuals lacking legal permission to enter, or remain, in the United States, when apprehended at the U.S. border are detained and placed in removal proceedings in front of an immigration judge. These individuals may include refugees seeking asylum."

In case you missed it:
ICE keeps people, including children, legally applying for protections in the same conditions and same place as murderers and rapists.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"they can go back from where they came"

What .. the armed services? They were discharged and probably do not want to sign up for additional tours of duty as the prior tours have left th veterans destitute. But you do not care do you?

"maybe if they followed the law in the first place they wouldnt be there????"

What law(s) might our homeless veterans have broken? Not finding a job that pays a living wage? I was unaware that was a crime. Being crippled? That is not a crime either.

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Bad analogy. YES, they should go back to the Armed Forces.

Not to re-enlist, but because the Veteran’s Administration has dozens of programs to help such people. And can direct them to local programs that do the same.

Yes, it could be better. But there is support available, from housing through meds right down to just people that have been through the same to talk to.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Sending Vets to the VA

It is terrifying to me how many clients have come back telling me about the unresponsiveness of the VA. But we don’t give our troopers proper concussion helmets, let alone proper care for TBI (a very common common outcome of being too close to an IED — more common than dead, even). Vets needing care are stacked five-plus to a room and medicated for the convenience of the nurses. For most ailments, they’re told to walk it off. PTSD support groups have formed not by government support but by volunteers who noticed a lack of government support.

When it comes to benefits advocacy, there’s a waiting list. Again, volunteer groups have formed because the VA doesn’t have a single fuck to give.

And some of these guys not only saw action, but got fucked by the HQ for supply and support. And they are now brain cases or bed cases or basket cases because command prematurely wrote them off as expended troops. You’d think when they came back alive, the state would show some proper remorse.

Counter-recruitment propaganda writes itself these days.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Sending Vets to the VA

All confirmed correct. So-called conservatives are the worst for this: basically, the line is, "You knew what you were signing up for, you knew it wasn’t going to be Disneyland, so tough!"

I’ve seen one right-winger say online, "You should have died out there."

Rule of thumb: don’t send people out to fight your damn make-work wars if you’re not prepared to deal with the consequences.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

maybe if they followed the law in the first place they wouldnt be there????

Or maybe the people running the place could actually be held accountable for being pieces of shit?

Funny how you have no problem holding someone brave enough to make the trek to America accountable, but the assholes who actually live here not so much.

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Or rental apartments in many areas.

A cracked electrical outlet is a "safety and security" ding on a landlord in NY under various codes.

While I’m sure there are actual issues with the contractors, I’ve got to wonder how many of those 14,000+ violations are of this nature.

People love to inflate numbers.

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Disgusting Attitude

Say 200 kids have been "lost", to use your term.

Add in another 100 "safety and security" violations that really WERE serious over the same time period.

300 doesn’t make headlines. 14,000+ DOES.

None of my rental units have ever been flagged, or had a Violation issued. For a simple reason – I’m not obnoxious with the various Officers who do the inspections. They give me a list of what needs to be fixed or changed, I make the changes, let them know, and they do the Official Inspection.

I doubt that kind of courtesy is shown when inspecting detention units. So every "technical" Violation is flagged and logged – from "lost kids" to the unpainted top edge of a door.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Disgusting Attitude

These are detention units, while you’re talking about residences. This is ICE, while you are a private landlord. This is the OIG calling out ICE for its own failures, while you’re providing anecdotal accounts.

I’m going with the OIG on this one – the violations are occurring and being waived rather than even considered. There’s no excusing this.

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Disgusting Attitude

I’m reminded of the article here where ICE was claiming an assault by "hundreds" of "illegals", then it came to light that each stone thrown at them by the same person was counted as an individual assault.

As I said initially, I DO believe there are serious violations. Just not 14,000+ of them.

TFG says:

Re: Re:

That’s no different than conditions in our homeless shelters, yet I don’t see anyone complaining about that.

In which case the problem is that people aren’t complaining about it, since these conditions aren’t acceptable in any place. Go complain about that. Complain about this, too. The existence of these conditions elsewhere does not excuse their existence.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

The "Surprise! We're holocausting" nightmare.

Ever since the Snowden revelations came out I’ve been terrified that when the next great American atrocity reveal comes out, the announcement will not just be something like We’ve been killing migrants and selling their children into the international sex trade but also and we’ve been doing it for the last five years, to the tune of millions of lives.

Now I realized it’s totally true to American character for it to go The detention and management of some unpopular vulnerable peoples was outsourced to a big corporation and it has been massacring / trafficking them in their pursuit of profit-optimization.

…and the overseeing government agents knew about it yet didn’t stop them for at least five years.

carlb (profile) says:

what? who? they all sound the same

I remember seeing something on the news about some extremist group, I think they said they were ISIL, or ICE, or ISIS or something like that. I wasn’t really paying attention closely at first until they described these extremists as a terrorist front which takes little kids away from their mummies and daddies. I thought we bombed bad countries where people do things like that?

ECA (profile) says:


Looking for middle east Muslims that want to kill all USA persons, and or christians..
We are Finally pulling out, and pointing our fingers South..
A closer enemy??

All I see in central is Failure of the USA gov. to do anything right..
We dis stupid things like getting rid of certain Leaders..
We paid the nations to keep the drugs out..Who got that money??
We even sent ‘ADVISERS’ that assisted in destroying Lots of drug locations.
We force the Corps to send a few jobs down there, and the employees have their Money taken by Gangs after they leave work.

Its always been that 1% cause the problems and the other 99% suffer or MOVE..
Wonder why they think they can come to the USA and get any better?? BECAUSE no one is shooting at them???

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

It isn’t happening to me or the people I know, so I don’t care.
It isn’t a problem because it only happens to "bad people".
"Bad people" deserve extra punishment, just look at the prison that had no power or heat for over a week… the outrage was deafening in its absolute absence.
Prison rape jokes are funny, because it isn’t my child or loved one being raped & prisoners deserve this extra suffering.

We have morons who shot up a pizza place while calling in bomb threats & amber alerts about the stolen children in the basement the building doesn’t have & people cheering them on.
Hundreds of separated children stolen from their parents & handed over to known sex offenders, clear evidence of the abuse… not a fscking peep. They blame the parents for trying to give their kids a better life, saying they should have waited… ignoring a huge backlog of cases b/c not funding those courts gives us a reason to hate these people who grow weary of waiting.

A few criminals cross the border & the outrage shakes the nation to its core!!
The death count in Chicago on any given weekend is magnitudes larger, victims & families suffering but all of the talk is about the ‘illegal’ who stole a weapon from an officers unlocked car & someone killed in a crossfire.

We have had multiple serial killers found working for CBP, we have sexual predators who use their power to get what they want, and we pay their fscking salaries.

Stop pretending that to demand accountability would mean the end of America, we sold out our freedoms for imagined security & pour billions into corporate coffers selling us tiger repelling rocks that will keep us safe… unless its Vegas, a Holocaust Museum, a church, a school… the list goes on but I really have to go throw up now.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: "Bad people"

Crime and sin are what other people do. When one of our own does it, they get a mulligan. And this is a phenomenon that that can be confirmed by looking at the records of our alleged legal system.

And we’re all special snowflakes when it comes to those things we’re sensitive about.

Maybe some day, we’ll develop a moral standard based on common root goals and a utilitarian foundation. Maybe some day we’ll take seriously the rule of law, that all laws are executed to exacting precision in all cases (and by doing so, excise terrible laws for sound ones in which punishment is no more than what is necessary to disincentivize).

Maybe one day, everyone will have rights, and those rights will be guaranteed, and transgression of those rights will be impossible, or at least so compensated that it’s rare.

But not now. Not today. Heck, if we keep shitting into the pool, maybe not this species.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So our guys can pretend the law does not apply to them.
They can rape children.
They can feed them spoiled food.
They can murder people.
They can rape women.
The laws we are all supposed to follow can be suspended because they are ‘bad people’ who broke a law.

I look forward to you being murdered for not using your blinker.

If we fail to uphold our laws & standards, give out passes because the victim "deserved it" we’ve failed to be a civilized nation.

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