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immigration

DHS terminating contracts with detention facilities accused of mistreating immigrants

The Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday it is terminating contracts with two detention facilities that stand accused of abusing immigrants.

The facilities are the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, and the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Several women at the Irwin County Detention Center, a privately-run facility, have accused a doctor there of forcing them to undergo unnecessary gynecological procedures in dirty conditions, an accusation the physician denies. The Bristol County Sheriff's Office operates the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center, and the facility has been accused of not taking proper precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and excessive use of force.

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is a Republican, and in 2020 served as honorary chairman of former President Donald Trump's re-election campaign in Massachusetts. He called the decision to cut ties "a political hit job." Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, head of Lawyers for Civil Rights, disagrees, telling The Associated Press that Hodgson "has inflicted grievous harm on vulnerable immigrants in his custody for years. And we enthusiastically applaud the Biden administration's decision to put an immediate end to the abuse."

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday said he is working to make "lasting improvements" to the immigration detention system, and wanted to state "one foundational principle: We will not tolerate the mistreatment of individuals in civil immigration detention or substandard conditions of detention."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has about 19,000 non-citizens in custody for removal housed at 200 facilities in the United States, down about a quarter from 2020, data from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse shows. Most do not have a criminal record.