Dignity Not Detention New Mexico https://dignity.chihuahuan.org Supporting HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act to end expansion and implement oversight of ICE detention facilities in NM Fri, 31 May 2019 16:05:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 ICE facilities in New Mexico https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/23/ice-facilities-in-new-mexico/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ice-facilities-in-new-mexico Wed, 23 Jan 2019 01:50:57 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=227 This map of 23 ICE facilities in New Mexico was created from data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), and shared with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). Data … Continue reading

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This map of 23 ICE facilities in New Mexico was created from data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), and shared with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). Data were downloaded from NIJC who also provide some initial analysis of the table at the national level.

At the top left of the map page, there is a box with an arrow. Clicking this shows the map legend which lists five kinds of facilities.

  • IGSA = Intergovernmental Service Agreement
  • USMS IGA = US Marshals Service Intergovernmental Agreement
  • DIGSA = Dedicated Intergovernmental Service Agreement
  • Family = Family Detention Center
  • Hold = ICE Holding Facility

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Immigration detention is not punishment for a crime https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/03/immigration-detention-is-not-punishment-for-a-crime/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=immigration-detention-is-not-punishment-for-a-crime Thu, 03 Jan 2019 22:55:25 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=128 Often times people are confused about immigration detention believing it to be time served for a criminal act. However, that is not correct. Immigration detention is administrative confinement whereby individuals are held for the purpose of insuring that they attend … Continue reading

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Often times people are confused about immigration detention believing it to be time served for a criminal act. However, that is not correct. Immigration detention is administrative confinement whereby individuals are held for the purpose of insuring that they attend civil immigration proceedings.1

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) states clearly that ICE detention is “civil, not criminal, custody, which is not supposed to be punitive.” 2 ICE acknowledges that “immigration detention is not punishment”. 3 Though over 40,000 individuals are confined on any given day, resulting in the incarceration of more than 300,000 individuals per year, at an estimated cost of now well over $3 billion annually (and growing), no one held in ICE detention center is serving time for a crime.

Please sign on in support of HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

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Immigration detention is a massive barrier to justice https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/03/immigration-detention-is-a-massive-barrier-to-justice/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=immigration-detention-is-a-massive-barrier-to-justice Thu, 03 Jan 2019 23:08:50 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=132 Since immigration litigation is a civil matter, many of the constitutional protections that extend to criminal proceedings do not apply to those held in immigration detention. Most of us are accustomed to the idea that people are innocent until proven … Continue reading

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Since immigration litigation is a civil matter, many of the constitutional protections that extend to criminal proceedings do not apply to those held in immigration detention. Most of us are accustomed to the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty, that the prosecution bears the burden of proof, that the court will appoint an attorney of the defendant cannot afford one, and that a person has a right to a speedy trial. While those protections extend to criminal matters, they do not apply to civil immigration matters.

The right to a court-appointed attorney or the guarantee of a speedy trial, do not apply to those held in immigration detention. Moreover, unlike criminal proceedings where the plaintiff bears the burden of proof, in immigration proceedings the migrant respondent bears the burden of proof. They must prove their innocence or that they qualify for some form of deportation relief. Detaining migrants, particularly in remote ICE facilities, like those in New Mexico, makes it especially difficult for detained individuals to secure legal counsel.1 Migrants bear the burden of proof, are not afforded a court appointed attorney, are not guaranteed a speedy trial, and when they are confined it is extremely difficult for them to acquire an attorney.

In addition to being very expensive for making calls, the phone services in many immigration detention facilities do not permit the outbound caller to leave a message. Imagine being locked up, earning a dollar a day, having to use an expensive phone, there are few lawyers around, and you can’t leave a message. Given that effective, cheaper, and more humane methods of ensuring that migrant respondents appear at their immigration hearings exist it is time to limit expansion of immigration detention in our state and begin immediate independent unannounced inspections of ICE facilities in New Mexico through the passages of HB624.

Please sign on in support of HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

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The US government says immigration detention is cruel and inhumane https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/03/the-us-government-says-immigration-detention-is-cruel-and-inhumane/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-us-government-says-immigration-detention-is-cruel-and-inhumane Thu, 03 Jan 2019 23:13:53 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=134 In 2015, the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), the nations watchdog for civil rights issues, reviewed the conditions in ICE and ICE contractor immigration detention facilities. The report is clear that immigration detention is punitive, abusive, and should end. … Continue reading

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In 2015, the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), the nations watchdog for civil rights issues, reviewed the conditions in ICE and ICE contractor immigration detention facilities. The report is clear that immigration detention is punitive, abusive, and should end.

While ICE acknowledges that immigration detention is not supposed to be punitive or a punishment, the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) found that: 1) migrants “detained by ICE in its own and in for-profit prison company-run facilities are treated as less than human”, 2) that these “facilities are subjecting detained immigrants to torture-like conditions”, 3) detained individuals are subjected to “torture-like mental pain and suffering”, and 4) some detention center officials and guards “intentionally cause and threaten detainees with physical pain or suffering.”1 These observations expressed by USCCR mirror concerns documented in a large and rapidly growing corpus of law reviews, academic journal articles, and migrant advocacy reports. It is time to prevent expansion of immigration detention and implement immediate independent unannounced inspection of ICE detention facilities–HB624 does this.

Please sign on in support of HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

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During the past two years, 22 migrants died in ICE custody https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/06/during-the-past-two-years-22-migrants-died-in-ice-custody/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=during-the-past-two-years-22-migrants-died-in-ice-custody Sun, 06 Jan 2019 19:04:58 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=176 In a new analysis of dozens of government reports, death reviews and audits of ICE detention centers NBC reports that during the past two years 22 migrants died in ICE custody. One of those deaths, Roxana Hernandez, occurred in New Mexico. Continue reading

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In a new analysis of dozens of government reports, death reviews and audits of ICE detention centers NBC reports that during the past two years 22 migrants died in ICE custody. One of those deaths, Roxana Hernandez, occurred in New Mexico. An independent autopsy indicates that she suffered blunt force trauma while in ICE custody.

NBC points out that during the past year Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) issued three reports ” finding poor treatment and spotty oversight in ICE facilities.” These reports are:

  • OIG-18-32: Concerns about ICE Detainee Treatment and Care at Detention Facilities. Research for this report was stimulated by large numbers of calls to the OIG hotline. OCPC, a facility in Chaparral NM that is run by the private prison firm Management and Training Corporation, is one of the facilities examined in the report.
  • OIG-18-67: ICE’s Inspections and Monitoring of Detention Facilities Do Not Lead to Sustained Compliance or Systemic Improvements. This report examines Nakamoto Group, a private consulting firm that has repeatedly been hired by ICE to review detention standards at facilities in New Mexico.
  • OIG-18-86: Management Alert – Issues Requiring Action at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in Adelanto, California. OIG found: nooses in cells, overly restrictive use of solitary, and inadequate medical care.

The tally [of 22 deaths in ICE custody] does not include the recent deaths of two Guatemalan children in CBP custody. Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, and Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, 8, died within weeks of each other in December.

While not in an ICE detention center, these deaths also occurred in New Mexico.

Please sign on in support of HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

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Immigration detention facilities in New Mexico are particularly problematic https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/03/immigration-detention-facilities-in-new-mexico-are-particularly-problematic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=immigration-detention-facilities-in-new-mexico-are-particularly-problematic Thu, 03 Jan 2019 23:30:50 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=137 The United State Commission on Civil Rights determined that ICE and ICE contractor immigration detention facilities are punitive and abusive. New Mexico is host to two ICE immigration detention centers both of which are managed by large private prison corporations: … Continue reading

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The United State Commission on Civil Rights determined that ICE and ICE contractor immigration detention facilities are punitive and abusive. New Mexico is host to two ICE immigration detention centers both of which are managed by large private prison corporations: Core Civic owns and manages Cibola County Correctional Center (CCCC) in Milan while Management and Training Corporation (MTC) manages the Otero County Processing Center (OCPC) in Chaparral. Government and advocacy reports indicate that these facilities are particularly problematic.

CoreCivic Cibola and the County Correctional Center

In 2016, CoreCivic opened CCCC as an immigration detention facility and for 16 years previously ran the complex as a correctional facility for the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). As a Core Civic managed prison, the facility was notable for accumulating more significant repeat health services deficiencies than any other private federal prison in the US.1 Following numerous deaths and problems with medical services at the facility the BOP ended the contract.2 Despite the chronic problems, Cibola County commissioners agreed to let CoreCivic convert the facility into an ICE detention center where protections are fewer. Since its failures with the BOP, CoreCivic’s track record of detaining migrants for ICE has unsurprisingly not improved. For example, there is the recent death of Roxana Hernández Rodriguez who died as a result of inadequate medical attention.3 An independent autopsy found that Ms. Hernández Rodriguez body had deep bruising on her hands and abdomen with evidence of blunt-force trauma “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with a blunt object” as well as injuries from the use of handcuffs; this trauma occurred while Mr. Hernández was in ICE custody in New Mexico.4

Management and Training Corporation & the Otero County Processing Center

Within New Mexico, MTC managed facilities have a grim history involving wrongful death, rape, suicide, poor medical care, a scathing 2003 DOG report, and a class action lawsuit in which MTC was required to pay out $8 million dollars to thousands of individuals the company illegally strip searched.5 Despite these numerous and severe problems, counties in New Mexico, perhaps operating under the assumption that detention facilities represent viable rural economic development (discussed below), continue to do business with MTC. In 2008, together with Chaparral county, MTC opened OCPC as a dedicated ICE detention facility. It is located adjacent to the MTC managed federal prison.

Responding to a high volume of complaints to its detainee hotline, in 2017, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) conducted the first and only unannounced inspection of OCPC. Phones are one of the primary ways that detained individuals obtain and communicate with attorneys; OIG found non-working telephones in the housing areas.6 DHS-OIG found that at OCPC improper treatment of detained individuals “contributed to an overall negative climate” and that “detainees alleged in interviews that staff mistreated them, citing guards yelling at detainees, as well as using disrespectful and inappropriate language.”7 One person detained at OCPC recently reported that an MTC guard addressing new arrivals to the facility stated “Welcome to the Mental Torture Center.” ICE inspections indicate a history of inappropriate staff behavior.8 DHS-OIG found that OCPC staff misused disciplinary and administrative segregation (solitary confinement), inappropriately holding individuals for prolonged periods of time, for minor rule violations, and that many facility records regarding segregation were missing.9 Consistent with complaints made by many individuals detained at OCPC,10 and a key reason why the facility was previously found deficient,11 DHS-OIG found the facility dirty and in poor condition.12

It is time to halt the expansion of immigration detention and initiate immediate independent unannounced inspection of ICE detention facilities in New Mexico. HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act accomplishes both of these goals.

Please sign on in support of HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

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New Mexico won’t look the other way on border issues https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/16/new-mexico-wont-look-the-other-way-on-border-issues/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-mexico-wont-look-the-other-way-on-border-issues Wed, 16 Jan 2019 23:39:53 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=196 On December 27, 2018 the Santa Fe New Mexican ran an editorial that directly addressed the immediate and dire need for immigration detention oversight while highlighting the importance of closing ICE detention centers in the state. Touching directly on issues … Continue reading

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On December 27, 2018 the Santa Fe New Mexican ran an editorial that directly addressed the immediate and dire need for immigration detention oversight while highlighting the importance of closing ICE detention centers in the state.

Touching directly on issues related to HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act, the editorial continues:

If we do not act, we are complicit. How the United States treats asylum-seekers is a federal issue, but these deaths are happening in New Mexico. It must be our concern.

Last summer, members of the New Mexico Legislature’s Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee heard from people who had been detained by the federal government.

The testimony was troubling, with stories of detainees being denied medications or treatment and handled as dangerous criminals, rather than asylum-seekers fleeing violence and oppression.

Much of what is taking place, of course, is out of a state’s control. Oversight is possible, say some lawmakers, however.

That’s because these federal facilities generally are operated by private companies. New Mexico can regulate private industry.

One idea being discussed would be legislation to limit the deals counties can make with the government and these companies to operate detention facilities.

Many of these facilities are open because of contracts entered into with county government anxious to make money; this is an extremely local issue in which the state as a whole, though, could intervene. For example, California has passed a measure forbidding ICE and for-profit companies to expand or enter into new agreements for detention centers in the state. That’s one possibility here.

HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act replicates the California’s two laws passed in 2017. As the Santa Fe New Mexican points out “these deaths are happening in New Mexico. It must be our concern.” It is time to move towards Dignity Not Detention in New Mexico by passing HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

Please sign on in support of HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

Source: New Mexico won’t look the other way on border issues | Editorials | santafenewmexican.com

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Sexual abuse and harassment are chronic issues at ICE immigration detention facilities https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/03/sexual-abuse-and-harassment-are-chronic-issues-at-ice-immigration-detention-facilities/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sexual-abuse-and-harassment-are-chronic-issues-at-ice-immigration-detention-facilities Thu, 03 Jan 2019 23:37:35 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=140 DHS and ICE documents indicate that inside immigration detention facilities, sexual assault and abuse are chronic issues that largely go uninvestigated. The US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) noted that at ICE detention centers “inadequately addresses staff misconduct regarding sexual … Continue reading

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DHS and ICE documents indicate that inside immigration detention facilities, sexual assault and abuse are chronic issues that largely go uninvestigated.

The US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) noted that at ICE detention centers “inadequately addresses staff misconduct regarding sexual assault and abuse.”1 A recent review of documents obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) found that between 2010 and 2017 there were more than “1224 complaints revealing a staggering pattern of sexual abuse” occurring in ICE immigration detention.2 While ICE claims it investigates all reports of abuses, two years after the filing of the FOIA request DHS OIG indicated investigations of only 43, a mere 3.5%, of the of the 1224 complaints. Of the 1224 complaints reviewed by The Intercept, 59% identified an ICE officer or private prison contractor as the perpetrator of the allegation. In 34% of the complaints, an officer directly observed the alleged abuse or was made aware of it, while 22% of the complaints identified an officer as the perpetrator and at least one other officer as a witness.

One individual detained at OCPC reported being repeatedly sexually harassed by MTC staff for being gay. The harassment was so bad, the individual requested transfer to another detention facility.3 This individual since won asylum, meaning that an immigration judge found his claim of past persecution, which stemmed in part from his sexual orientation, both credible and real. This means that the individual fled bona fide persecution, in matters related to his orientation, only to be confined for months at OCPC, often in solitary, and repeatedly subjected to sexual harassment at the hands of MTC staff. Research indicates that there are significant and profound psychological consequences for incarcerating a persecuted individual.4

Multiple African asylum seekers detained at OCPC report that when they are showering, MTC guards, and particularly female guards, leer and ogle at their bodies. These detained individuals also receive unwanted comments and suggestions from staff. All these detained individuals are devout Christians. They made formal complaints regarding sexual harassment and an investigation was undertaken. The detained individuals report that investigators only spoke to the most-timid and least well-spoken individual of the group, a person who stutters. This was a serious concern for the multiple articulate and well-spoken individuals who experienced the brunt of the offenses but were not consulted by investigators. The cursory and superficial nature of the investigation casts serious doubt on whether inspectors got to the bottom of the issue, a pattern that is consistent with both USCCR’s findings and the investigation by The Intercept.

It is time to end the expansion of immigration detention and initiate immediate independent unannounced inspection of ICE detention facilities in New Mexico. HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act accomplishes both of these goals.

Please sign on in support of HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

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ICE inspections of detention centers don’t improve facility conditions https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/03/ice-inspections-of-detention-centers-dont-improve-facility-conditions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ice-inspections-of-detention-centers-dont-improve-facility-conditions Thu, 03 Jan 2019 23:47:00 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=142 ICE detention centers are annually inspected either by ICE or private firms they contract. Yet DHS Office of Inspector General recently concluded that ICE inspections were ineffective. There is no independent monitoring of ICE facilities and annual inspections are announced … Continue reading

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ICE detention centers are annually inspected either by ICE or private firms they contract. Yet DHS Office of Inspector General recently concluded that ICE inspections were ineffective. There is no independent monitoring of ICE facilities and annual inspections are announced beforehand.

Since ICE was established, advocacy groups have argued that ICE inspections of its immigration detention centers are ineffective.1 In response to public pressure, ICE has made public efforts at reform including more than three versions of their detention standards (NDS 2000, PBNDS 2008, and PBNDS 2011) and a list of 31 detention reform accomplishments which end in 2016. Yet, as recent as 2018, DHS-OIG still acknowledges that ICE inspections are ineffective.2 Thus, it is clear that ICE’s efforts at reforming their own detention program are inadequate and announced ICE inspections of its own facilities objectively do not lead to improved detention conditions. A major conclusion of the July 16, 2018 meeting of the New Mexico Courts and Criminal Justice committee was that, until facilities in the state are closed, immediate independent oversight of them is critical. HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act seeks to halt the expansion of ICE detention in the state and implement immediate independent inspection of existing facilities.

Please sign on in support of HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

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Incarceration facilities don’t make for sound rural development https://dignity.chihuahuan.org/2019/01/04/incarceration-facilities-dont-make-for-sound-rural-development/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=incarceration-facilities-dont-make-for-sound-rural-development Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:18:20 +0000 http://dignity.chihuahuan.org/?p=144 The belief that placing incarceration facilities in rural areas stimulates local rural economies is a myth that was developed and perpetuated during the prison boom of the 1980s-1990s. Quantitative and demographic studies show that prison hosting, and by extension immigration … Continue reading

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The belief that placing incarceration facilities in rural areas stimulates local rural economies is a myth that was developed and perpetuated during the prison boom of the 1980s-1990s. Quantitative and demographic studies show that prison hosting, and by extension immigration detention center hosing, is a strain on local economies. All across the US, prison hosting raises unemployment in small towns and rural communities.

The idea that rural prison building is a viable rural development tool was forwarded in Bureau of Justice Statistics literature from the 1990’s.1 Though unsupported by evidence, it was (and by many still is) commonly assumed that for rural small towns hosting prisons or detention centers will bring a plethora of new jobs, result in new payroll taxes, and generally stimulate the local economy. These beliefs form key reasons why rural communities, including those in New Mexico, often go to great lengths, and sometimes into great debt, to attract detention centers.2

Whether prisons, and by extension detention centers, stimulate small rural communities is a question that is empirical and testable. Numerous local case studies and regional surveys have examined this very question through well-designed, empirically rigorous, and statistically controlled investigations. For example:

  • King et al. (2003) examined 25 years of economic data statistically comparing rural prison hosting to non-prison hosting counties in New York.3
  • Huling (2003) synthesized and summarized existing literature on prison placement including some unpublished conference papers.4
  • Besser and Hanson (2004) looked at all new prison towns between 1990-2000 statistically comparing similar prison and non-prison hosting communities in terms of standard economic indicators.5
  • In one of the more thorough case studies, Gilmore (2007) examined all new prisons in California.6
  • Holley (2008) examined all non-metro prisons built during the 1980s and 1990s statistically comparing prison hosting counties with similar non-hosting communities in terms of standard economic indicators.7
  • Hooks et al. (2010) examined all existing and new prisons in the US since 1960 looking at the impacts on employment outcomes from 1976-2004.8
  • Meagher and Thompson (2016) further synthesized literature on rural prison placement and economic outcomes. There are additional studies, but these are the ones I’ve personally read and reviewed in the past few weeks. I’m continuing to collect literature on the subject.9

Standard economic and demographic indicators consistently show that small rural towns hosting new prisons experienced more unemployment, greater poverty, and less growth than similar small rural towns that did not host prisons. After controlling for population, economic indicators, and region, at the end of the decade (2000) when compared to non-prison towns, new prison towns on average had lower median value of housing, fewer housing units, lower household wages, fewer non-agricultural jobs, and fewer youth residents.

These results may seem unexpected until one examines the details. The reason for these trends is that while new jobs are created by prisons, whether it be construction, corrections, or custodial roles, local residents in the hosting community typically do not fill those positions. The positions are generally filled by residents of the nearest large town or metro area; prison workers commute long distances to rural prisons. Visiting the employee parking lot at OCPC on any given day reveals that nearly all of the cars bear Texas plates. This is because, consistent with the pattern identified in numerous other case studies, most of the employees do not come from the local rural community they commute from the nearby urban center, which in the case of OCPC is El Paso.

In addition to the pattern just described, many of the custodial jobs at ICE detention centers are filled by incarcerated workers who make a dollar a day. Rather than protecting US workers, which is supposed to be one of the reasons for immigration enforcement, ICE encourages its private prison contractors to use captive low paid (at $1 per day) migrant labor rather than hiring local workers to do the job. Immigration detention facilities are nearly completely self-contained, they have virtually no economic multiplying factors articulating with the local community. The assumption that prisons are viable economic development strategies for small rural towns is deeply entrenched and confirmed by unquestioned repetition; this assumption has been carefully tested by well-designed research and resoundingly found false—evidence shows that prison hosting strains local economies.

Please sign on in support of HB624 the Rubio-Maestas Immigration Detention Facilities Act.

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