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We Got Cameras Inside One of the Biggest ICE Detention Centers. This Is What We Saw.
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=51301"><span class="small">Evan McMorris-Santoro, Jesse Seidman and Roberto Daza, VICE</span></a>   
Saturday, 03 August 2019 13:21

Excerpt: "Immigration and Customs Enforcement opened the doors to one of its largest immigrant detention facilities, letting cameras in for the first time."

About two dozen detainees were escorted across a courtyard by contract security guards. Blue uniforms are worn by detainees with no criminal history. Orange uniforms are for inmates previously arrested in the U.S. (photo: Jesse Seidman/VICE)
About two dozen detainees were escorted across a courtyard by contract security guards. Blue uniforms are worn by detainees with no criminal history. Orange uniforms are for inmates previously arrested in the U.S. (photo: Jesse Seidman/VICE)


We Got Cameras Inside One of the Biggest ICE Detention Centers. This Is What We Saw.

By Evan McMorris-Santoro, Jesse Seidman and Roberto Daza, VICE

03 August 19

 

mmigration and Customs Enforcement opened the doors to one of its largest immigrant detention facilities, letting cameras in for the first time.

A small group of reporters shadowing a congressional delegation were granted access to the El Paso Processing Center on Friday. The facility houses adult men and women as they await adjudication of their asylum cases or deportation back to their country of origin.

In keeping with current border policy, families with children are not held at facilities like this; they are released to sponsors inside the United States. At the El Paso facility, husbands are separated from wives, and women and men are kept separately. A typical stay averages 30 days, according to officials.

Officials insist they are not operating a prison — because they see a prison as a place where people are carrying out sentences handed down by a judge — but the trappings of American incarceration are visible everywhere.

Detainees are given different-colored uniforms to denote their potential violent threat level — blue means no criminal history, orange means arrested in the U.S. in the past, red means “serious” felony convictions in the detainee’s past. Blue is the most common color. Doors are locked, razor-wire tops fences, and detainees are sometimes separated along nationality lines to prevent violence.

ICE Field Office Director Corey Price said he hopes to change the public perception of ICE detention.

"As you know, this year has been quite challenging, trying to get out facts from fiction sorted out in the public," he said. "So I thought it was extremely important to let you all in and let you get a first-hand look at how ICE detention actually operates. I want you to see the medical care that's actually provided, the food services, the suite of services that are quite frankly provided to detainees that are in our care."

Cameras captured the facility's medical wing; processing unit; "intercultural center," which houses religious ceremonies and AA meetings; dining hall; a women's dormitory; the law library; and a detainee-run barbershop.

VICE News along with other media outlets agreed not to show faces of detainees or ICE employees. Further, outlets agreed not to interview detainees or ICE employees beyond designated media-relations officials. Under questioning, officials said the facility had not been altered for the media tour.

Facility officials said it was the first time cameras were allowed in the El Paso Processing Facility. Media delegations without cameras and delegations from the U.S. government, foreign governments and NGOs are a familiar presence, according to officials.

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+7 # coberly 2019-08-03 22:04
Theresienstadt,
 
 
+14 # chrisconno 2019-08-04 06:25
Why can't our congress people visit these sites unannounced? That would give a more honest view of what's going on. And why can't the prisoners be interviewed? I don't care how many scheduled visits there are to these places, I don't trust anybody who needs weeks of advanced warning before showing the inside of a concentration camp. This is an untenable situation.
 
 
+4 # coberly 2019-08-04 08:54
i'd like to see at least the congresspeople willing to impeach, and the Democrats in state politics and as many of their constituents who have the time and resources show up and demand entrance to a site. Tell the guards to stand aside or face arrest, and go in and take the kids out and return them to their families.

Thats all it would take.
 
 
0 # coberly 2019-08-04 22:23
kind of makes me wonder what the -1 percenters would do.
 
 
+9 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-08-04 08:02
Given all the other evidence we’ve seen, this is just a whitewash attempt by ICE.
 
 
+7 # Lolanne 2019-08-04 11:29
If there is nothing to hide at the border, then why is it necessary to so carefully stage a visit? Why not allow interviews? Why force detainees to wear uniforms? This is just more BS by trump and co.
 
 
+4 # Jack Ox 2019-08-04 13:04
How much time will go by before these are not just concentration camps- but become organized death camps too? That is the plan folks.