United States - Yesterday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that a 32-year-old man named Julio Cesar Chirino Peralta died in its custody. ICE had detained Mr. Peralta at the Port Isabel Detention Center in Los Fresnos, Texas, for less than a month before the day of his death on October 8. Mr. Peralta is the 12th person who has died in ICE custody during the Biden administration's first term.
“We are heartbroken and express our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Julio Cesar Chirino Peralta. Mr. Peralta should not have been subjected to immigration detention, a cruel and inhumane system that does not need to exist. Any amount of time in immigration detention is detrimental to a person’s mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. We demand that the Biden Administration shut down the Port Isabel Detention Center and all other immigration detention facilities.” said Stacy Suh, Program Director at Detention Watch Network.
Earlier this year, the Office of the Inspector General found that the Port Isabel Detention Center violated government standards for immigration detention, an oversight structure that has failed to prevent deaths. They noted an inadequate number of medical staff for the detention center, plumbing issues that ‘posed health and safety risks,’ and ‘violations related to use of force, requests and grievances, classification documentation, and adherence to COVID-19 protocols.’
The number of people in detention is at the highest level under the Biden administration at over 35,000 – more than double what it was when he first took office. “Simply put, people navigating their immigration case should be able to do so with their families and in community – not behind bars in immigration detention. Immigration detention as a whole is unnecessary, rife with systemic abuses and completely arbitrary. The Biden administration has the power to shut down detention centers now,” added Suh.
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition building power through collective advocacy, grassroots organizing, and strategic communications to abolish immigration detention in the United States.