Members of Congress Urge Investigation into Sexual Abuse in Immigrant Detention Centers

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January 10, 2012

Citing our October film Lost in Detention, 30 members of Congress are pressing the Government Accountability Office to look into the issue of sexual abuse at immigration detention centers:

… This review should include facilities run by the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), private facilities under contract with ICE to hold immigration detainees, and those public facilities (like county jails) also under contract with ICE. Additionally, please identify what steps DHS is taking to rectify the problem and suggest any actions it needs to consider in order to ensure that sexual abuse does not continue to plague the immigration detention system.

Our film examined complaints of sexual abuse at the Willacy Detention Center in Raymondville, Texas, and our reporting, in conjunction with documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, found that illegal immigrants held in immigration detention facilities across the U.S. filed more than 170 allegations of sexual abuse over the last four years.

“Given that sexual violence is often underreported, as victims are afraid to come forward with their claims, this figure likely understates the severity of the problem,” the members of Congress wrote in a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.

Watch Lost in Detention here, and read the congressional letter below.


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