Photo: Pinal County Jails and ICE
Activists and organizations on Friday appealed to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop housing detained immigrants at the Pinal County, Arizona jail.
The request was prompted by well-documented shortcomings in the jail’s handling of immigrants, Victoria Lopez, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, told Efe.
“Various problems exist with the conditions in the jail,” she said. “They don’t have an outside area where the prisoners can exercise, they don’t permit family visits with physical contact and they restrict attorney visits.”
The ACLU has also received reports about verbal abuse of migrants at the jail as well as complaints about the quantity and quality of the food and insufficient access to medical care, Lopez said.
“We have heard the federal government say on several occasions that it will carry out reforms of the immigrant detention centers, but they haven’t complied with that in this jail,” she said.
ICE pays the Pinal County jail, located in Florence, for the use of 625 beds to accommodate migrants, most of them people who are appealing deportation orders or awaiting decisions on applications for asylum.
“The immigrants there spend months or even years while an immigration decides on their cases,” Lopez said.