|Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention »|
In January 2011, the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act request with several components of the United States Department of Homeland Security, including the Office of Inspector General, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, seeking all documents in their possession related to the sexual abuse of detainees in immigration detention facilities. While the information gleaned from the documents we have thus far received is surely just the tip of the iceberg, and while these documents generally describe allegations rather than proven incidents, the results summarized above nonetheless paint a very instructive picture about how widespread this problem is and how vulnerable to abuse immigration detainees can be.
The documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act request contain nearly 200 allegations of abuse in immigration detention facilities across the nation. And given that sexual abuse is a problem that is widely underreported in the outside world, there’s little question that number does not fully represent the scope of the problem. But one thing is clear: the sexual abuse of immigration detainees is not an isolated problem, limited to one rogue facility or merely the result of a handful of bad apple government contractors who staff some of the nation’s immigration detention centers. As our documents show and the map above depicts, while centers in Texas resulted in the largest number of allegations, sexual abuse allegations have come from nearly every state that houses an immigration detention center. The data crystallizes the urgent need for the government to admit just how pervasive a problem sexual abuse is in its immigration jails and to take immediate steps to ensure that all detainees are protected.
By scrolling over each state, you can see how many allegations from that state are shown in the documents and each of the individual facilities from which complaints have been received. Click on the state for more detailed information. For more information about the methodology used to arrive at the information above, and how allegations were counted, click here.