The Department of Homeland Security says it will stop incarcerating immigrants at a pair of county jails under federal investigation for abuses — in Bristol County, Massachusetts, and Irwin County, Georgia. Immigrants jailed at the Bristol jail say officers attacked them with pepper spray and sicced dogs on them as they held a protest last year demanding COVID-19 protections. Meanwhile, dozens of immigrant women jailed at the Irwin County Detention Center say they were subjected to nonconsensual and invasive gynecological procedures — including hysterectomies — that were later found to be unnecessary.
Immigrant rights advocates are celebrating news that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be terminating contracts with the jails. Silky Shah, executive director of Detention Watch Network, said, “We know that this must be the first step of many, including ensuring that people are released and not transferred to other detention facilities when contracts are cut. … Everyone should be able to navigate their immigration case at home and in community — not behind bars in immigration detention.”