Federal immigration authorities will stop housing detainees at an Alabama jail with a history of problems and will limit the use of three other detention centers. The changes reinforce a commitment by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to determine whether detention facilities are humane, meet applicable standards and are a responsible use of funding, the Associated Press reports. ICE will stop using the Etowah County Jail in Gadsden, Al. as soon as possible. The jail has “a long history of serious deficiencies,” the federal agency says.
Advocates who have long sought the end of ICE detention at the Etowah County Jail hailed the news while urging authorities not to transfer people from one facility to another. “The Etowah County Detention Center exemplifies everything that is wrong with immigration detention and why the detention system must be abolished,” said Detention Watch Network advocacy director Setareh Ghandehari. “The administration can and must do more to completely phase out the use of immigration detention by continuing to terminate contracts, shut down additional facilities and free people from detention.” Etowah County Sheriff Jonathon Horton told The Gadsden Times that the decision to quit sending detainees to the jail “was just a bombshell.” Just last week, the center was notified that 135 detainees would be coming this week. ICE said it will also limit its use of the Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven, Fl., the Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, La., and the Alamance County Detention Facility in Graham, N.C.