Immigrant Detainees Held At Site Flagged Hazardous To Human Health

One of the largest immigration detention facilities in the country is located in an area that was deemed unfit for residents due to exposure to toxic sludge and other hazardous waste.

The Trump administration’s indiscriminate crackdown on immigrants has resulted in an explosive growth in immigration detention centers across the United States. However, the recent reports suggest the government can no longer keep up with the surge, as it has taken to locking them up in questionable facilities.

According to a CNN report, people who came to America seeking asylum and protection were detained at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site, which exposed them to toxic sludge and other hazardous waste.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acknowledged by the end of June up to 1,495 detainees were being kept at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington.

The facility, which is located within an industrial district in Tacoma, was contaminated with hazardous waste and was previously selected by the EPA for cleanup since it posed serious threat to human health and environment.

In fact, the area which was still highly polluted was deemed unfit for residents. Also years ago, people living there lodged complaints about the strong smell that lingered in the atmosphere along with side effects like burning eyes and throats.

The report noted the soil in the area also contained harmful substances that could cause cancer and other deadly diseases.

Nonetheless, despite numerous safety concerns, the Northwest Detention Center became operational in 2004— and now it is one of the largest immigrant detention centers in the country.

Moreover, over the years, detainees in the facility have carried out number of hunger strikes as they accused the management of providing them sub-par food and medical treatments.

Apart from poor conditions, public records obtained by the group Freedom for Immigrants from ICE revealed alarming number of reported physical and sexual assaults at the Northwest Detention Center specifically.

In the wake of such disturbing revelations, the company issued a statement:

“Our employees are proud of our record in managing the Tacoma ICE Processing Center with high-quality, culturally responsive services in a safe, secure, and humane environment. Members of our team strive to treat all of those entrusted to our care with compassion, dignity, and respect,” company spokesperson Pablo Paez told the publication.

Banner Image Credits:  REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon/File

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