Assemblyman David I. Weprin, Chair of Committee on Correction, Statement on ICE Detainees at the Orange County Jail

Fresh Meadows, NY - Assemblyman David I. Weprin issued the following statement after visiting the Orange County Correctional Facility on Tuesday, November 20:

“I was quite disturbed by my visit to the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, New York, yesterday Tuesday, November 20, 2018; where my colleagues Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and I met with several ICE detainees being held at the jail.

It became clear as we toured the facility that individuals being held on immigration charges were being treated the same as inmates in general confinement, being housed in cells with mandatory lockdown periods, and being forced to wear prison uniforms rather than regular clothing. A number of individuals noted a lack of heat, less than adequate clothing for confinement, a high cost of phone calls (up to a dollar a minute), a lack of care in medical appointments and disappointment with the quality of food. Even more troubling was to hear that many of these individuals were being denied due process, held indefinitely for weeks, months, or even years, while waiting for immigration court hearings and court dates.

The Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement has no justification or reason to be holding nonviolent individuals, who came to our country seeking a better life, in county jails for indefinite lengths; and the Orange County Correctional Facility has no justification for treating these individuals as violent offenders, especially as the facility receives $133.90 per day for each detainee.

Based on what we saw, at best, Trump’s DHS/ICE is incredibly incompetent, unable to process asylum applications despite record lows in the amount of applications filed, and at worst, deliberately violating human rights as part of an abhorrent policy that seeks to deter asylum seekers and other immigrants by subjecting arrivals to inhumane treatment upon surrender.

Either way, it’s time to end this inhumane, unconstitutional and possibly illegal policy. I am once again calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to end these indefinite detentions of immigrants being held on nonviolent misdemeanors as well as expedite hearings for asylum seekers and others seeking resolutions to their immigration cases.”