Washington, D.C. – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) issued the following statement in response to a recent Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report on the death of immigration detainees in Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) custody and on ICE medical policies.
It’s quite clear from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) report that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) needs to improve. The OIG’s report noted serious systemic failures with respect to ICE policies and procedures. Notably it found that, contrary to ICE’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, ICE has not been reporting detainee deaths to the OIG. The report also lists numerous other problem areas with ICE detention policies, including: failure to address severe medical staffing shortages; failure to respond to sick call requests in a timely manner; failure to establish procedures for dealing with detainees who have infectious diseases; failure to adequately monitor its facilities for adherence to established standards; failure to comply with State laws requiring the reporting of detainee deaths; failure to establish an electronic health records (EHR) system; and failure to separate criminal from non-criminal detainees.
I continue to be troubled by the cavalier attitude that ICE leadership seems to have when it comes to our obligation to treat those detained with minimum standards of care. Many of those in immigration custody are there for minor administrative and paperwork related mistakes or because they have sought political asylum under the law. Their detention should not be a death sentence.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is serving her seventh term in Congress representing most of the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County. She serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. She also Chairs the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections and serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. Congresswoman Lofgren is Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation consisting of 34 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California.