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Senators Call For Shuttering Of 'Inhumane' ICE Detention Centers

A group of Democratic senators led by Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter Tuesday night to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to shut down four private detention centers.

The letter, first reviewed by HuffPost and signed by Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), targets facilities in New Mexico, California, Louisiana and Virginia. All of the facilities have faced serious complaints over treatment of detainees. Contracts for two of those facilities are up for renewal this week.

“We do not support a system that detains people in inhumane conditions that result in long-term medical issues, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. We urge that these facilities be shut down, in a step towards building an immigration system that welcomes and respects migrants,” read the letter.

The letter, addressed to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Patrick Lechleitner, the acting director of ICE, also demands immigration officials to hand over a list of all public and private ICE detention facilities as well as a timeline for ending contracts at those four facilities.

“After reports of inhumane conditions, including sleep deprivation, dirty drinking water, and psychological trauma, independent watchdogs and other experts have recommended that the Biden administration close the worst of these facilities,” Warren said. “This would be a meaningful step toward ending the federal government’s reliance on private detention centers.”

Neither agency responded to HuffPost’s request for comment.

ICE uses at least 110 detention facilities

Read more on huffpost.com