U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers Reuters / Norsk Telegrambyra

Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff said on Thursday he began an investigation regarding the conditions in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) center in El Paso, Texas, following a series of allegations about their state.

Ossoff sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Patrick J. Lechleitner, ICE's interim director, detailing the concerns that led him to begin the inquiry, according to a report by Noticias Telemundo.

"I recently inspected the ICE Progessing Center in El Paso, Texas, which is operated by contractor Global Precision System, a subsidiary of Bering Strait's Native Corporation. The center has received numerous complaints, including allegations of abuse and serious mistreatment of people staying there," said Ossoff, who visited the premises two weeks ago.

Ossoff said that over 110 complaints have been filed about the center since the beginning of fiscal year 2023, which began in October of 2022. The complaints included inadequate medical attention and mistreatment from the staff, among other issues.

The senator added that during his visit at least one guard "didn't have a visible identification tag on him, and his face was covered by a mask and sunglasses." When he asked about the reasons for this, Ossoff was told it was a precautionary measure for dust storms even though there wasn't one at the moment.

The investigation comes shortly after a report revealed that ten people have died under ICE custody so far this fiscal year, a figure that is much higher than previous years.

Concretely, since the beginning of the fiscal year, which starts on October, more than twice the people have died in these circumstances compared to 2023 (4) and more than thrice compared to 2022 (3).

The only fiscal year in the records when deaths exceeded 2024's figures was during the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, when the figure reached 21.

Two of the deaths took place in the past days, with one in Georgia receiving particular attention due to the fact that it was the second one in the facility.

He was the second foreign national to have passed away in Georgia while under ICE custody this year, following the death of Jaspal Singh in April. Singh was an Indian national who died after spending months in detention at Georgia's Folkston ICE Processing Center near the Florida border.

Health and life conditions in ICE detention centers have been under scrutiny also in Louisiana this month after migrant advocates in the southern state announced that a 33-year-old man from Senegal who died while under ICE custody in 2023 had been sick for months, with his condition deteriorating at the Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield.

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