Feinstein pushes ICE to consult 'qualified experts,' reconsider revised detention standards

Feinstein pushes ICE to consult 'qualified experts,' reconsider revised detention standards
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCalifornia lawmakers mark Day of Remembrance for Japanese internment Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe House passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum MORE (D-Calif.) is requesting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reconsider its revised detention standards and consult with “qualified experts” to improve them.

In a Friday letter addressed to Matthew Albence, acting director of ICE, the California senator condemned ICE for its “recently issued” revised detention standards, saying they “weaken the quality of care for immigrants in ICE custody.” Feinstein posted the letter to Twitter Tuesday morning. 

“Given the number of deaths in ICE custody and reports of poor conditions in ICE facilities, detention standards must improve,” she tweeted. “ICE needs to consult with medical and mental health experts, congressional committees and advocates before finalizing their detention standards.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The California senator cited the number of deaths in ICE custody and poor conditions in facilities as reasons for enhancements. 

Feinstein also stated that the new standards permit ICE to use “‘hog-tying, fetal restraints, [and] tight restraints,’” remove “basic necessities” and allow ICE “more discretion” to put migrants in solitary confinement.

“I therefore ask that you suspend the revised standards and seek further input from qualified experts on how they can be improved,” she wrote, saying the facilities were “already failing to meet existing standards.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The senator requested that ICE cooperate with medical and mental health experts, congressional oversight committees and advocates before finishing the detention standards that it issued in partnership with the National Detention Standards (NDS).

“Correspondence between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and members of Congress is handled through official channels, and will be addressed by appropriate officials within the department," ICE told The Hill in a statement.

The inspector general had previously denounced ICE facilities in September 2018, saying they violated detention standards. Seven children have died in ICE custody since 2018 after almost a decade without incident. 

Rebecca Klar contributed.