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Watchdog Calls for ‘Immediate Removal’ of ICE Detainees



1871: Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his famous expedition to Africa.

The Department of Homeland Security inspector general released a report calling for the “immediate removal” of all detainees from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in New Mexico, citing “egregious” living conditions.

Inspector General Joseph Cuffari sent a “management alert,” instructing ICE to address “the critical staffing shortages that have led to safety risks and unsanitary living conditions at the Torrance County Detention Facility.”

The facility should have 245 staff members, but at the time of the inspector general office’s unannounced inspection, there were only 133.

DHS found that 53% of cells had toilets and sinks that were “non-functioning” or “clogged.” The report included pictures showing they were moldy and “full of human waste.”

Cuffari’s report said detainees must be relocated until the facility can ensure “adequate staffing and appropriate living conditions.”


ICE refuted the report’s findings, saying that the inspector general’s office “falsified or mischaracterized evidence and ignored facts presented to it in order to achieve preconceived conclusions.”

“ICE is fiercely committed to ensuring that noncitizens in its custody reside in safe, secure, and humane environments,” ICE Acting Chief of Staff Jason Houser wrote in a memo to Cuffari.

“While ICE leadership continues to work on improving conditions at the (facility) in Estancia, New Mexico, we do not agree with the OIG’s overall conclusion that it does not provide a safe, secure, and humane environment.”


Mold and clogged toilets at ICE center spark watchdog call for ‘immediate’ removal of detainees