Inspector general: ICE failed in conditions at child detention centers
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An inspector general report released this week found Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does an inadequate job of inspecting its facilities and correcting poor practices.

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general said in a report that ICE’s detention centers do not regularly comply with agency standards, and cited a lack of follow-up on problems identified during sweeps at its roughly 200 facilities.

The inspector general was particularly critical of the Nakamoto Group, a company that is contracted to perform inspections at about 100 facilities each year. It called the company’s inspection process “too broad,” and “not always thorough.”

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When compiling their reports, some Nakamoto inspectors relied on answers from ICE employees who were not responsible for the areas the inspectors were asking about, according to the inspector general. 

In other cases, Nakamoto inspectors spoke only English when interviewing detainees who did not speak English.

"In some instances, Nakamoto’s reports misrepresented the level of assurance or the work performed in evaluating the actual conditions of the facility and the information in the reports was inconsistent with what we observed during inspections," the inspector general said.

By comparison, the report credited ICE’s Office of Detention Oversight for effectively inspecting facilities, identifying problems and avoiding some of the same issues as Nakamoto Group.

However, it knocked the inspections as “too infrequent to ensure the facilities implement all deficiency corrections.”

The inspector general issued five recommendations for improving ICE detention facilities. It called for revising the scope of inspections, reinstating a quality assurance program, developing a specific plan for facilities with numerous problems, updating procedures and implementing plans to verify and correct recurring issues. 

In response to the report, ICE agreed with the recommendations and vowed to implement each one.

The inspector general report was released as ICE is facing protests in recent weeks for its role in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration.

The policy, announced in April, led to the separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents.

Protests have broken out near ICE facilities in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore., in recent days, prompting the agency to put up barriers near entrances or after immigration hearings. Additional marches are expected nationwide on Saturday.

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