ICE Detention Kills. New York Must End Its Complicity.

“President Biden’s failure to divest from for-profit detention centers during his presidential term should urge New York leaders to use their constitutional powers to stop state and local facilities from continuing to profit from ICE detention.”

ICE Detention Facility

Josh Denmark/DHS

ICE’s Batavia-Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in upstate New York.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention, originally intended to meet administrative hearing purposes, has devolved into a system marked by unnecessary deaths and family separation. This year alone, ICE has already reported several deaths in its custody. Their names were Chirino Peralta (32 years old), Ousmane Ba (33), Subash Shrestha (34), Frankline Okpu (37), Carlos Juan Francisco, (42), and  Charles Leo Daniel (61 ).

In Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, he promised to end for-profit detention centers because “no business should profit from the suffering of people fleeing violence.” In complete opposition to that promise, when presented with the opportunity to divest, Biden sided with private prison operator CoreCivic, and supported their demand to keep running an immigration detention center in New Jersey, despite state legislation prohibiting private detention facilities from entering into agreements to detain people for ICE.

Moreover, Biden’s most recent executive order bars and criminalizes undocumented migrants who cross the Southern border from a legal pathway to asylum, putting immigrant New Yorkers seeking shelter and asylum at a higher risk of being detained and at risk of death in detention. In the last year, the city has welcomed over 100,000 new arrivals seeking asylum.

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