Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Operates Secret Detention Center

by Project Censored
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) agents are holding thousands US residents in unlisted and unmarked subfield offices and deporting tens of thousands in secret court hearing. ICE is also confining people in 186 unlisted and unmarked subfield offices, many in suburban office parks or commercial spaces revealing no information about their ICE tenants–nary a sign, a marked car or even a US flag. The absence of a real-time database tracking people in ICE custody means ICE has created a network of secret jails designed for confining individuals in transit, with no beds or showers, subfield offices are not subject to ICE Detention Standards. These field office detention centers lack showers, beds, drinking water, soap, toothbrushes, sanitary napkins, mail, attorneys or legal information.

“If you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.” Those chilling words were spoken by James Pendergraph, then executive director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of State and Local Coordination, at a conference of police and sheriffs in August 2008.

ICE agents regularly impersonate civilians–OSHA inspectors, insurance agents, religious workers—in order to arrest longtime US residents who have no criminal history. Detention centers across the country were restricting public access to immigration courts. The Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), an agency in the Department of Justice charged with managing immigration courts, reports that in 2008 its judges decided 134,117 deportation cases, of which 48 percent were for detainees. The individuals facing deportation hearings in these remote sites–far from their families, indigent and without attorneys–are the most legally fragile population in the country. Title: America’s Secret ICE CastlesSource: The Nation, January 4, 2010URL:

Title: ICE Agents’ Ruse Operations

Source: The Nation: December 17, 2009

Title: Secret Courts Exploit Immigrants

Source: The Nation: June 16, 2009

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Author: Jacqueline Stevens Student Researcher: Nicole FletcherFaculty Evaluator: Ronald LopezSonoma State University