Aside from its own Office of Detention Oversight (ODO) and local staff stationed in facilities, ICE monitors compliance through annual inspections by the Nakamoto Group, a key contractor that has done so in the last eight years.
In January, a report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concluded that the agency failed to hold contractors accountable for multiple problems in detention centers, including sexual assaults, use of tear gas instead of authorized pepper spray and commingling detainees with serious criminal offenses with those who have “minor, nonviolent criminal histories or only immigration violations.”
“Although ICE employs a multilayered system to manage and oversee detention contracts, ICE does not adequately hold detention facility contractors accountable for not meeting performance standards,” the report said. “Instead of holding facilities accountable through financial penalties, ICE issued waivers to facilities with deficient conditions, seeking to exempt them from having to comply with certain detention standards.”
“However, ICE has no formal policies and procedures about the waiver process and has allowed officials without clear authority to grant waivers. ICE also does not ensure key stakeholders have access to approved waivers.”
Nakamoto, which oversees more than 100 ICE facilities, is accused of cutting corners on its own investigations, conducting improper interviews and producing inaccurate reports, according to NPR.
A man detained at a facility owned by GEO Group in Adelanto, California in October told the outlet that for 76 days, he was subject to filthy conditions, denied medications and shortly put in solitary confinement, where others allegedly came out of with bruises.
Nakamoto, however, reported no problems at the facility in the last two years, while inspections from previous years have not been made public.
In November, when Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats asked the company to address problems raised in another DHS report, it responded that “Without question, the detained immigrant population as a whole has a better life because of what Nakamoto does.”
“I am a hard-working minority woman, who took a risk 15 years ago in forming a small business to try to make my way in this great country,” Nakamoto wrote. “In regards to the OIG report your letter references about our inspection processes, our inspections are a snapshot of what we observed on that particular visit, usually once a year.
“So, what OIG members observed during their visit may not be what was present when we visited that facility.”
“There a world where I could understand the intention — given family history, create a company that monitors conditions in service of watching out for incarcerated people. That doesn’t appear to be the mission.”
There’s a world where I could understand the intention — given family history, create a company that monitors conditions in service of watching out for incarcerated people.
Meanwhile, another speculated what motivates Nakamoto.
“This is horrifying. To me it seems rooted in trauma and proving assimilated ‘Americanness.’ This is what people must understand: that often fear/trauma of being othered breeds more hatred of the other. It’s a toxic cycle that can only be broken with intentionality.”
This is horrifying. To me it seems rooted in trauma and proving assimilated “Americanness.” This is what people must understand: that often fear/trauma of being othered breeds more hatred of the other. Its a toxic cycle that can only be broken with intentionality.
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