Dems say tiny fraction of sexual assault charges against DHS are investigated

Dems say tiny fraction of sexual assault charges against DHS are investigated
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A group of House Democrats are calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to do a better job of investigating physical and sexual assault allegations against employees handling immigrant detainees.

In a letter signed by 71 Democrats, Reps. Judy ChuJudy May ChuDems introduce bill to take gender-specific terms out of tax code to make it LGBT-inclusive Dems build case for obtaining Trump's tax returns Schumer hits back at Trump: ‘He’s hostage-taking once again’ MORE (D-Calif.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) demanded that the DHS install new safeguards to protect immigrants in the custody of the department.

“There are already myriad problems with immigrant detention facilities and the entire policy of treating immigrants as prisoners, but the threat of sexual assault should not be among it,” said Chu. “We need an investigation, more oversight, and reform to ensure that we are protecting those in our care.”


Citing data compiled by the Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), a human rights group dedicated to ending immigrant detention, the lawmakers said the DHS investigates a small fraction of complaints against its personnel.

Of 33,126 complaints of sexual or physical abuse involving DHS component agencies between January 2010 and July 2016, it found just 225 investigations were opened — or 0.07 percent.

Citing figures from a complaint filed by CIVIC against DHS, the letter alleges that, of 1,016 accusations of assault in immigration detention centers between 2014 and 2016, only 24 were investigated.

“DHS and its partner agencies must be held accountable for rampant complaints of sexual assault, abuse and harassment within their immigrant detention facilities,” said Grijalva.

The lawmakers also cited ongoing allegations of abuse at detention centers, asking DHS to publicly aggregate complaints on its website.

The letter also requested DHS cancel a request it made to the National Archives and Record Administration for permission to destroy records, including on sexual assault allegations, dating back 20 years.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.