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ICE Statement to Latin Post on Immigrant Rights Groups FOIA Lawsuit

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ICE Statement from ICE Communications Director, Central Region, Carl Rusnok to Latin Post on Immigrant Rights Groups FOIA Lawsuit. Details:
  ICE Statement:  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not comment on pending litigation. However, historically we have released significant amounts of information regarding our family residential centers. ICE hosted about 30 members of our ICE Non-Governmental Working Group at the Artesia Family Residential Center in Artesia, New Mexico, in July. We have a strong working relationship with members of this group. We have frequently provided these members information and updates about the facility and its policies. ICE has also provided numerous other opportunities for community groups and the general public to ask questions about the facility via tours or town hall meetings. In addition, three media tours have been hosted at the Artesia facility since it opened June 27. The Department of Homeland Security and ICE are committed to providing quality care in a safe and secure environment to adults with children who are housed in our facilities as their immigration cases are adjudicated. These children (ages from infant to 17 years old) at both new ICE residential centers in Artesia, NM, and Karnes City, Texas, receive a full range of services that include medical, psychological, educational and recreational. Legal counsel  ICE facilitates the daily presence of volunteer attorneys at these Residential Centers. These volunteer attorneys provide free on-site legal services to residents. In addition, ICE’s Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) has regular contact with the organizers of these volunteer attorneys to address any concerns that may arise relating to access to counsel issues. Adults with children in ICE custody maintain important rights, including the ability to seek asylum protection, to appeal adverse “credible fear” findings to an immigration  judge, and to seek legal representation. The Justice Department and DHS have  prioritized these cases and devoted resources to efficiently process and remove individuals who do not claim credible fear or are ordered removed by immigration  judges. These actions ensure we continue to meet our international and legal obligations with respect to individuals who have claims for protection. While ICE is not involved in efforts to secure legal representation during the removal process, ICE ensures individuals access to attorneys, if requested. Immigration judges are dedicated to these facilities to prioritize hearings via video teleconferencing. All hearings and screenings are able to be heard and fairly considered on an expedited timetable due to the increase in resources allocated to these new residential centers. Detention determinations are made on a case-by-case basis, but as the President and the Secretary said, if these individuals aren't eligible for a form of relief, they will be returned. Family Residential Centers  ICE's family residential centers are an effective and humane alternative to maintain family unity as families await the outcome of immigration hearings or return to their home countries. ICE ensures that family residential centers operate in an open  environment, which includes play rooms, social workers, and access to legal counsel. These Residential Centers remain a critical piece in the government’s response to the unprecedented influx of adults with children arriving at our southern border. These new facilities have helped to increase our capacity to hold and expedite the removal of the increasing number of adults with children illegally crossing the southwest border. Medical care  ICE is committed to ensuring that all residents at our family facilities receive timely and appropriate medical treatment. ICE’s family residential standards are designed to provide access to quality medical care for all residents. The on-site ICE Health Service Corps (IHSC) medical staff is available 24/7 to all residents at these facilities. IHSC staff addresses any medical concerns brought to its attention. BACKGROUND INFORMATION:   Detention of recent entrants  ICE prioritizes the removal of those who have recently crossed our borders. Standard  practice for individuals who are apprehended between ports of entry is to be placed in detention while expediting the removal process as provided by law. With the establishment of the Artesia and Karnes facilities, ICE now has considerably more capacity to properly hold this population while it makes its way through the process. Message to people of Central America:  DHS has made extensive efforts to get the message to families in Central America that the journey north is treacherous and that there are no ‘permisos’ for those crossing the  border illegally. The Secretary has reiterated that our borders are not open to illegal migration, and our message to people in Central America has been clear: if you come here illegally, you will  be subject to removal proceedings and sent back, consistent with our laws and our values.
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