Bennet requests DHS plan to fix detention facilities

Bennet requests DHS plan to fix detention facilities

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Bennet reintroduces bill to ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever MORE (D-Colo.) wrote a letter calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fix detention centers found to be in violation of department standards. 

In a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, Bennet requested "methodology to rectify all violations" by Nov. 1. 

“In light of the recent deaths at detention facilities, the lack of oversight and recourse to these violations is especially troubling. 31 immigrants, including seven children, have died in immigration custody since 2017. Yet, DHS fails to hold private contractors accountable or otherwise improve conditions of immigrant detention facilities,” Bennet wrote. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Bennet also said he was "dismayed to hear that DHS has not addressed the violations and abuses outlined in" inspector general reports from June and January. 

The June report found “unusable” bathrooms and expired food during visits to four Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers last year. The January report found that ICE only imposed financial penalties on contractors twice, despite “thousands of deficiencies and instances of serious harm to detainees” between Oct. 1, 2015, and June 30, 2018.

The Hill has reached out to DHS for comment on Bennet's letter. Shortly after the January report was released, an ICE spokesman told The Hill in a statement that the agency has "a strong record of holding detention facilities accountable when deficiencies are identified."

Bennet's Friday letter came days after a man died in ICE custody in San Diego

Bennet is among more than a dozen people seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.