Since Congress revamped the nation’s immigration laws in the 1990s, the government has rounded up tens of thousands of immigrants each year who’ve committed a crime — from murder to offenses such as overstaying their visas — even if the offenders had already been punished. These immigrants have been jailed for months or years while Homeland Security officials obtained a court order to deport them. Some have allegedly experienced brutal and violent conditions while in detention.
In a two-part series, National Public Radio’s Daniel Zwerdling investigated allegations that guards have beaten up detainees and mistreated them in other ways at two jails in New Jersey used by Homeland Security. Zwerdling profiled the cases of two such detainees; the link gives access to both text and audio versions of his reports. Clark Kent Ervin, Department of Homeland Security inspector general, said, “As a result of work already underway regarding various aspects of the DHS’ alien detention program, and complaints received by our office, we have undertaken a review, focusing on the treatment of detained aliens…We plan to have a report ready for public release by the Spring of 2005.”