Numerous inmates have tried to hang themselves at one ICE facility — but guards are ignoring bedsheet nooses and mocking inmates.
A new government report reveals that "a number of serious issues" that "pose significant health and safety risks" were found during a surprise inspection of an ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) facility — including more than a dozen "nooses" made out of braided bedsheets that guards ignored.
Shockingly, nooses were found in 15 out of 20 cells where male undocumented immigrants were being detained.
Some detainees said they use the braided bedsheets as clotheslines or privacy shields, although ICE standards prohibit detainees from hanging or draping items in their cells.
But of course, bedsheet nooses could also be used to attempt or complete suicide — a serious, recurring problem at the facility that ICE "has not taken seriously," according to the report.
More people have been forced into detention facilities such as these after the Trump administration imposed its cruel zero-tolerance policy of prosecuting parents and separating them from their children after crossing the border.
According to the report on the surprise inspection of Adelanto, investigators "observed braided bedsheets" that staff at the facility referred to as "nooses."
As officials moved through the building, the contract guard with them first removed the noose that was found, "but stopped after realizing many cells we visited had nooses hanging from the vents."
“I’ve seen a few attempted suicides using the braided sheets by the vents and then the guards laugh at them and call them ‘suicide failures’ once they are back from medical," one immigrant detainee told investigators.
The inspector general report cited multiple documented cases of attempted or completed suicide at the Adelanto facility.
In March 2017, a 32-year-old man died after he was found hanging from his bedsheets. Between December 2016 and October 2017, the report notes, there were at least seven suicide attempts at the facility.
"ICE’s lack of response to address this matter at the Adelanto Center shows a disregard for detainee health and safety," the report concludes.
The report also found that medical care was severely delayed and inadequate for many Adelanto Center detainees — some of whom had to wait months or years for dental care, and lost teeth as a result.
The facility also reportedly violated standards for how and when to punish detainees by segregating them from the general population.
Systemic problems like this are why some progressives are calling to abolish ICE entirely and replace it with a more humane immigration enforcement program. ICE has only existed as an agency since the Bush years.
Thanks to the Trump administration's harsh and aggressive approach to immigration — motivated by Trump's own racial animosity and the Republican Party's embrace of the same — more and more immigrants are being placed in unnecessary danger.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.