Author: T. Douglas Stump on 02/28/2014
We heard today that the long-awaited and vitally important Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) final regulations will likely be issued next week by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The importance of these regulations cannot be overstated. The PREA Commission found that immigrant detainees are particularly vulnerable to abuse which is why implementation of these regulations is so important. No one should be subjected to sexual assault or any form of abuse while in government custody.
I’m encouraged, and I know that my fellow AILA members are as well, that the rule’s release is imminent. It has been nearly two full years since we submitted testimony to the House of Representatives calling for DHS to apply PREA regulations to immigration detention facilities.
The immigrants held in these detention centers have waited far too long for this protection. It is incredibly important that DHS now moves as quickly as possible to ensure that the new rule covers all facilities – including local jails that contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Those local jails hold about half of all ICE detainees on any given day so it is imperative that they also be covered by these regulations.
I know that when it is released, AILA staff will be reviewing the final rule. It is my sincere hope that the changes to detention policy will lessen the fear of abuse that too many immigrant detainees face.
More next week!
Written by AILA President, Doug Stump