Smith Statement on Department of Homeland Security’s Decision to Establish Review of Privatized Immigration Detention
Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement in response to the announcement by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson that the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) will conduct an evaluation of whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should follow the Department of Justice’s recent decision to terminate its contracts with privately operated prisons:
“I am encouraged that Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has called for a review of current policies concerning the use of privately run detention centers. I believe they will find that these prisons are not the best our government can provide to ensure everyone’s rights are protected.
“At the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, I have witnessed firsthand the exploitative living conditions these detainees face and have advocated for immediate changes to our immigration detention operations.
“The continual dysfunction within our detention system will need the leadership of Congress and a clear outcome from DHS internal review in order for concrete solutions to be instituted to protect the integrity of detainees and provide adequate oversight of our facilities. While the move to reevaluate the use of privately run facilities is indeed the correct one, this is only the first step towards rebuilding a system that is in dire need of comprehensive reform.”