Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Illness Hinders Plans to Close Immigration Jail

Last month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials stated that they would close the Varick Federal Detention Facility and transfer its estimated 300 detainees to New Jersey. The detention facility’s planned closing is occurring in order to improve health care and cost-effectiveness in the nation’s detention system. Although closing the facility in New York may improve cost-effectiveness, how is sending 300 detainees to an already crowded facility in New Jersey going to improve the health care of the detainees? If anything, it is only going to worsen the health care situation in the facility. Udi Ofer, advocacy director of the New York Civil Liberties Union states “Moving detainees from New York to New Jersey is not going to fix the problem of inadequate care for immigration detainees…The absence of legally enforceable standards leads to situations where detainees are being mistreated.”
Although the detention facility was supposed to be closed by now, it is still open as some of the detainees that require extensive medical care are being rejected by other jails and facilities. Because of these rejections, these detainees continue to stay at Varick Federal Detention Facility. However, such obstacles will only lead the detainees to become a further burden to the ICE, causing them to attempt to deport the detainees at a faster rate.