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December 01, 2016

Report: Oversight of Private Detention Centers Must Improve

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on news that the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) released a report on the Department of Homeland Security’s use of private detention facilities. 

The report indicates that DHS’s use of private for-profit detention will continue, however, this should come with improved and expanded Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) oversight. Five members of the HSAC voted to approve the report as written, 17 members voted to approve the report but dissented from the conclusion that reliance on private detention facilities must inevitably continue, and one member voted against the report.

“Unfortunately, the report fails to address the underlying causes of the Department’s overreliance on private immigration detention facilities or offer viable alternatives. Despite reports of safety and security problems at these facilities, the handful of corporations that run them continue to make enormous profits at taxpayer expense. Clearly, we must continue the broader discussion about immigration detention in America. That said, over the near term, the Council’s recommendations to enhance direct oversight and strengthen accountability are important to improving conditions at private detention facilities. I urge Secretary Jeh Johnson to lay the groundwork for implementing these recommendations before he leaves office.”

In August, Ranking Member Thompson requested a review from the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security on the Department’s reliance on private prisons.

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978