CIVIC, Mar. 15, 2017 - "Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), a national advocacy organization, filed a complaint today calling for a federal investigation into ICE stakeholder tour and visitation denials and restrictions and for the rapid development of protocols to ensure that public access to immigration detention facilities is maintained.
March 15, 2017, Washington, DC – Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) has filed a federal complaint with the Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties within the Department of Homeland Security detailing access denials and restrictions in violation of federal policy at 14 immigration detention facilities in Arizona, California, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas. “While CIVIC has experienced restrictions of public access in previous years, we are concerned that these denials and restrictions may be indicative of an emerging pattern or practice to restrict or eliminate access by the public to immigration detention facilities,” said Rebecca Merton, Program Coordinator of CIVIC’s National Visitation Network. Over 400 organizations and individuals joined CIVIC in an additional letter urging Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to uphold its commitments to transparency and public access to the detention system by maintaining the 2011 Stakeholder Access Directive and ensuring that community members are not faced with additional restrictions when visiting people in immigration detention. Organizations who signed on include groups, such as the NAACP, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, Detention Watch Network, Southern Poverty Law Center, Code Pink, and the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. “We are deeply concerned that President Trump is trying to hide what is happening in immigration detention facilities by curtailing access to them. With a record number of immigrants being detained under the Trump Administration, we will not allow ICE to take this step backward in government transparency,” said Christina Fialho, an attorney and the co-executive director of CIVIC."