According to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency doesn’t comprehensively analyze inspection or complaint information to identify trends, and doesn’t have assurance that complaints are addressed.
In fiscal year 2019, most of ICE’s facilities that house adults for over 72-hour periods underwent inspections with smaller facilities doing self-assessments. Despite ICE identifying deficiencies through its inspections and having various mechanisms for receiving and addressing detention-related complaints from detainees, ICE does not comprehensively analyze them to identify trends or record all inspection results in a way that’s conducive to analysis, GAO said.
“By regularly conducting such analyses, ICE could identify and address potential trends in complaints,” the report said. “Additionally, ICE does not have reasonable assurance that Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) field offices—which oversee and manage detention facilities—address and record outcomes of detention-related complaints referred to them for resolution, or do so in a timely manner.”
GAO made six recommendations for ICE, all of which the agency agreed with:
- Directing Custody Management to conduct regular analyses of contracted facility inspections oversight data over time to enable trends in inspection deficiencies;
- Directing the Office of Detention Oversight and Custody Management to ensure that data on deficiencies identified are recorded in a consistent and accessible format to Custody Management for analysis purposes;
- Regularly conducting analyses of data on identified deficiencies;
- Ensuring all Operational Review Self-Assessment results and corrective actions are recorded in a format conducive to tracking and analysis;
- Regularly conducting analyses of detention-related complaint data from relevant offices to address reoccurring complaints; and
- Requiring ERO field offices to record any actions taken on, and the resolutions of, detention-related complaints referred to them from the Detention Reporting and Information Line and Administrative Inquiry Unit.