Who Is Watching Whom?

The current model of immigration detention oversight by the government does not effectively address or prevent human and civil rights abuses. Only ICE and its umbrella agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), conduct audits of immigration detention facilities. As there is no independent oversight, there are untold and unrecorded abuses. Those that do get reported, rarely get investigated. The Office of the Inspector General (part of DHS) is not only overworked, it also has failed to investigate, lied about work done, and covered up lies. The Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties (also part of DHS) was established by Section 705 of the Homeland Security Act. There is no other title like this in the federal government. There are no models to follow, and the terms of the statute are quite broad, leaving the Office with virtually little or no power.

For these reasons, CIVIC is committed to doing true monitoring of immigration detention facilities. CIVIC documents, categorizes, and verifies to the extent possible human and civil rights abuses in immigration detention facilities across the country on a daily basis. We are in direct contact with people in immigration detention through visits, tours, and our national hotline. We use the data and stories we gather to engage in advocacy to address rights violations. You can learn more about our unique and innovative form of independent and consistent oversight here.