Due to the relatively closed nature of the system, there is very little publicly available data detailing the extent of sexual abuse in immigration detention centers. However, recently uncovered documents reveal nearly 200 official complaints of sexual abuse in detention facilities since 2007. This number is probably just the tip of the iceberg given that sexual abuse is one of the most underreported crimes in the US.
For his first official investigation as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Juan Mendez chose to tackle the question of whether the use of solitary confinement amounts to torture.
Access to clean water is considered a basic human right- just like the right to food and the right to live without torture, but a new law means undocumented people in Alabama may be incarcerated for a decade for trying to access running water for their homes.
After five years in detention, asylum seeker Glorismel Centeno Ortiz was finally released on September 29 2011. Centeno spent nearly two years in federal custody for criminal charges that were ultimately dismissed and then another three years in immigration detention. Centeno is one of thousands of immigrants that languish indefinitely in detention for years, waiting for the day they will finally be deported or released.
Despite repeated calls for reform, the immigration detention web continues to grow in scale and cost, and the majority of immigrants held by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have broken no criminal laws.