1) Is there a way I can interview people who are currently detained?
Yes. Media representatives are allowed to tour immigration detention facilities and request to interview people in immigration detention, according to ICE’s Performance-Based National Detention Standards. (See Standard 7.2).
Requests for tours or interviews must be sent to the ICE Field Office in control of the immigration detention facility you wish to visit. Please note that these standards are not legally enforceable, and many media representatives have been denied tours and the opportunity to interview.
Freedom for Immigrants is happy to walk media representatives through this process.
2) How can I obtain records from the government?
Media representatives can file Freedom of Information Act requests with ICE, DHS, DHS’ Office of the Inspector General, DHS’ Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, or any other federal agency.
DHS and its sub agencies are often unresponsive to FOIA. So, media agencies should be prepared to pursue a FOIA litigation if necessary. Please note, ICE provides some information already available to the public in its FOIA library. You may also consider filing state open record requests, which usually have a quicker turnaround time.
3) Can I obtain records on privately-run immigration detention facilities?
Unfortunately, privately-run immigration detention facilities are not subject to FOIA. However, the Dignity Not Detention Act in California, which Freedom for Immigrants co-sponsored, allows media representatives and the public to file California Public Record Act requests to get information from privately-run immigration detention facilities.
Download a copy of our sample CA Public Record Act request.
4) Where can I find information about immigration detention statistics?
Freedom for Immigrants has compiled an extensive list of immigration detention statistics, including specific information on every immigration detention facility in the United States.
We also suggest that your review our overview of immigration detention, our timeline on immigration detention, and our Frequently Asked Questions.
5) Is there any information about immigration detention conditions?
Freedom for Immigrants actively monitors local, regional, and national trends.
Please review our Monitoring and Investigations page, which includes reports on medical neglect and sexual assault.