Some Maryland residents may have heard that the federal government announced a plan earlier in 2016 to end the use of for-profit prisons for federal inmates who had been convicted of crimes. However, while the Justice Department will no longer be using those facilities, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to use them to house people who have entered the country without permission. One of the first prisons that detainees will be sent to is in New Mexico, and it has a history of suspicious deaths and providing substandard medical care. The ICE is also looking at facilities in other states owned by the same company.
Immigration advocates have expressed concern about the plan. Overall, privately-owned prisons had a higher rate of assaults and other problems.
The ICE has said it is committed to the safety of detainees. However, according to the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Regional Center for Border Rights, the company’s history of placing profit above the needs of the people in its facilities is troubling.
A person who has been detained in one of these facilities, who is facing deportation or who has other immigration problems might want to speak to an attorney. If they have family in the country or is facing persecution in their home country, they might be eligible to remain in the United States legally. Immigration laws change rapidly, and they may also shift along with presidential administrations. An attorney can keep clients informed of these changes and assist them in seeking a legal route for immigration. An immigration attorney might also be helpful for people who want to study in the United States, people who are accompanying a spouse who will be working in the country, or people who are interested in naturalization.