A new study presents some shocking news that sexual assault incidents against immigrant detainees are under-reported in federal detention centers. Congress members are urging the President to take strong measures on this issue and protect immigrants who are held in detention facilities. Because many of these prisons are run by the government, it is Congress’s responsibility to ensure the safety of the inmates regardless of their legal status.
Rep. Mike Quigley has already reached out to the president with a letter asking for him to issue regulations “which would create national and uniform standards to prevent sexual abuse in prison and confinement center, like detention centers.” Congress members consider this a pressing issue because those held by the government should not be subjected to these types of abuses and Quigley called this situation “unconscionable.” Quigley has received much support for his initiative especially since the majority of lawmakers believe everyone has the right to be safe.
The high rates of abuse became known after the Government Accountability Office released a report which stated that there were 215 allegations of sexual abuse and assault against immigrants between October 2010 to March 2013. The current problem remains that there is no oversight or authority figure who can take care of the allegations that immigrants bring.
According to the study, 14 percent of phone calls placed to the Department of Homeland Security regarding sexual abuse allegations went unanswered. With stronger protections for immigrants and more trust in law enforcement and government officials, more individuals would feel comfortable reporting these crimes. Immigrant inmates are almost 15 times more likely to be assaulted than the general inmate population therefore needing specific protections.
Unless the president takes action, it will be difficult to make a change that each of the 250 detention centers nationwide will follow.
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