WASHINGTON – The ACLU sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas today calling for the closure of 39 Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities, including Glades County Detention Center, Baker’s County Detention Center, and the Krome North Service Processing Center in Florida. ACLU supporters will also be messaging Sec. Mayorkas to call for the closure of these detention facilities.

“ICE detention is often cruel, inhumane, and costly,” said Silvana Caldera, immigrants’ rights policy strategist with the ACLU of Florida. “Conditions in the Glades County Detention Center have become so life-threatening that a coalition of advocacy organizations filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security back in February and horrific reports of abuse continue on a regular basis. It is time to finally address the countless reports of human rights abuses at this and other facilities in Florida - Glades, Baker, and Krome - and stop unnecessarily separating families and endangering lives”

The ACLU is calling on the Biden administration to close detention facilities that meet the following criteria: As found by the Government Accountability Office (GOA), opened without adequate justification, in violation of ICE’s own process for obtaining new detention space; in remote locations with compromised access to legal counsel and external medical care; with documented patterns of inhumane treatment or conditions. Glades, Baker, and Krome have been selected because of ongoing reports of inadequate conditions in these facilities, violating ICE’s own standards and infringing on the rights of detained individuals.

“The Biden administration was elected with a mandate to fix our broken immigration system, and immigrant detention is an early test of its resolve,” said Naureen Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel at the ACLU. “Closing detention sites should be a no-brainer. Millions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted to maintain thousands of empty beds and keep asylum seekers and immigrants in inhumane and life-threatening conditions. The number of detained people is currently lower than it’s been in two decades: President Biden has a unique moment to shrink the infrastructure that’s been used to abuse and traumatize immigrants for decades. It’s time to end our nation’s newest system of mass incarceration of Black and Brown people.”

Fiscal Year 2020 was the deadliest year in ICE detention in 15 years. Last year alone, we saw reports of increased use of force, solitary confinement, patterns of sexual abuse, forced sterilization, and an utter failure to protect people from COVID-19. ICE’s extreme recklessness in handling the COVID-19 virus showed the blatant disregard it had for the health and wellbeing of detained people, as well as the extent to which it was willing to lie or obfuscate to avoid accountability.

Through COVID-19 related litigation, advocacy, and the shutdown of asylum under the Trump administration, detention rates dropped to rates lower than we’ve seen in two decades. There are currently roughly 14,000 people detained on an average day — this is just a quarter of the people who were detained at the peak in 2019. ICE is currently wasting over $1 million a day on guaranteed minimum bed space that isn’t being used. The ACLU’s list is intended as a starting point for the administration to begin ending the mass criminalization and default incarceration of undocumented immigrants.

Below is the full list of facilities the ACLU is calling to shut down:

Etowah County Jail, Alabama
Eloy Detention Center, Arizona
La Palma Correctional Center, Arizona
Adelanto Detention Center, California
Desert View Annex, California
Imperial Regional Detention Facility, California
Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility, California
Otay Mesa Detention Center, California
Yuba County Jail, California
Baker’s County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
Glades County Detention Center, Florida
Krome North Service Processing Center, Florida
Irwin County Detention Center, Georgia
Stewart County Detention Center, Georgia
Allen Parish Public Safety Complex, Louisiana
Catahoula Correctional Center, Louisiana
Jackson Parish Correctional Center, Louisiana
LaSalle ICE Processing Center, Louisiana
Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center, Louisiana
Richwood Correctional Center, Louisiana
River Correctional Center, Louisiana
South Louisiana Correctional Center, Louisiana
Winn Correctional Center, Louisiana
Bristol County House of Corrections, Massachusetts
Calhoun County Correctional Facility, Michigan
Adams County Detention Facility, Mississippi
The Shelburne County Jail, Minnesota
Otero County Processing Center, New Mexico
Okmulgee County Jail, Oklahoma
Clinton County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania
Pike County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania
York County Prison, Pennsylvania
Bluebonnet Detention Facility, Texas
El Valle Detention Center, Texas
T. Don Hutto Residential Center, Texas
IAH Secure Adult Detention Facility, Texas
Montgomery ICE Processing Center, Texas
Prairieland Detention Facility, Texas
Farmville Detention Center, Virginia

The letter is online here:

This press statement is online here: