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Let’s Talk About ICE Detention Facilities

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement run overcrowded and unsanitary conditions for migrant detention facilities in the United States. Initially, the media did not cover or talk about the migrant population in these horrible detention facilities; however, when different injustices were exposed, more news sources began covering ICE detention. 


The biggest red flag is that these facilities are excluded from the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) meaning people in custody are not protected from sexual abuse.  Thisis extremely messed up because of the minors and vulnerable persons detained by ICE.  Raquel, a mother of four children, was being taken to the airport and was sexually abused by the driver of the van. Another woman was described as a “thing” by another van driver who claimed that “it was beautiful” (referring to the woman) before abusing her. Not only is this disgusting and an abuse of power, but many of these women and children coming to the “land of the free” are hoping for a fresh start. Instead, they are left with trauma and abuse. 


Another instance of abuse relates to a 3-year-old. Yes, you read that correctly. Border officials were worried that a CHILD would be a potential threat to national security. Sofi, a young girl, was separated from her family and detained for 47 days. Just think about that. Days and days separated from your parents and having to live in a facility that has a history of sexual abuse. This is traumatic for Sofi because child separation from parental figures at such an early age can result in deficits throughout life. Think about the lasting impact this can have on Sofi’s life–brain damage and issues with social bond formation. This is all caused because of a certain political figure’s hatred and bigotry.


Another beautiful immigrant tried to commit suicide and was declared brain dead because she was parted from her father for four years. Heydi Gámez García was hospitalized and her father was released by ICE to “tend to his daughter’s passing” before being deported. Imagine being parted from your daughter for years on end, meeting her on her deathbed, and then being deported DAYS later. It is simply inhumane. 


Another mom, Yazmin Juárez, lost her beautiful baby girl due to neglect. The baby   contracted a viral lung infection at ICE. Twelve people were kept in the same room, of which some were extremely sick. Mairee, Yazmin’s daughter, caught the infection and her condition worsened as time went on. Small kids are NOT a threat to national security and do not belong behind bars or in cages. They do not deserve to drink water out of a toilet. They deserve love and compassion. 


Another man, from Michigan, Jimmy Aldaoud, was deported to Iraq after being arrested on a larceny charge. He was a diabetic and was also struggling with depression. Imagine deporting an AMERICAN citizen who was not accustomed to the Middle-Eastern culture and not informing his family. Jimmy died of a medical emergency:he had no insulin. This singular event is a testimony to the hundreds of deportations of Iraqi nationals by border patrols and ICE. This was only one deportation started by hundreds of deportations from border patrols and ICE. 


Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old migrant, was ill when placed in a cell with another sick boy. He was sick and needed medical help. Instead, he died after officials failed to monitor him and take him to the emergency room. He had no clean water and was forced to drink water out of a toilet. Carlos is someone the media covered; however, how many more kids and women died at the hands of ICE that we don’t know about? How many families have an empty seat at their table because they lost a loved one due to ICE? 



This isn’t the only unethical thing ICE is executing. It only goes downhill from here. Many women are forced to undergo mass hysterectomy procedures (a surgical process to remove the uterus) AGAINST their consent. American physicians who are trained and taught medical principles, such as beneficence (always looking out for patient well-being and interests) and the “do no harm” principle, are violating the rights of these women. Not only is this medical neglect, but these instances tie into the United States’ dark and disgusting history of forced sterilizations of Black, Latina, and Native American women, women with disabilities, and incarcerated women.



We must stand up and speak for these HUMAN beings. They are not aliens, migrants, or “things.” These are people with rich lives, beautiful hopes for the future, and so much potential. We must reject hatred, stereotyping, and abolish ICE together. No one deserves this type of inhumane and barbaric treatment, especially not other human beings who only have good intentions and aspirations of providing for their family. We must do better.


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