New Jersey officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are not pleased with a report released by the New York University School of Law. The report, put together by the law school's immigrant clinic, accuses ICE of the poor treatment of immigrants at Essex County detention facilities and calls for new methods to deal with detainees awaiting immigration court dates.
New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees collaborated with the NYU's immigrant clinic to compile the data featured in the study. An estimated 1,200 immigrants are in Essex County detention centers.
The "Immigration Incarceration" reform research is a 39-page report that alleges immigrants are underfed, medically ignored and locked in substandard conditions. The report says immigrants are improperly cared for in two Essex County detainee facilities, the county jail and independently-run Delaney Hall. The research accuses ICE of failing to meet its own housing and treatment standards for immigrants, a charge several officials deny.
The director of the Essex County jail says the report was designed to "discredit" the county's agreement with ICE to house immigrant detainees. Delaney Hall authorities countered the NYU report accusations with a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that describes the facility's efforts to improve conditions as "humane."
Rather than make any verbal statements, ICE officials chose to release a statement that listed what U.S. immigration officials have done to improve conditions at immigrant holding centers since 2009. ICE claims it hired dozens of new Detention Services Managers in the last three years and increased the number of regular and spot inspections at detention facilities.
The NYU report suggests that U.S. immigration enforcement officials consider detention alternatives, especially for immigrants who have never before been in trouble with the law. The study's authors recommend using bond and supervised release as detention facility alternatives, not just to ensure improved immigrant treatment, but as a way to help the government save money.