August 30, 2018
Press Release

LOS ANGELES – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement after meeting this week with employees at the Victorville Federal Prison, where between 400 and 1,000 undocumented immigrants have been held, and the Adelanto Detention Center, where over 1,800 detainees are held. Congressman Lieu is a member of the House Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over immigration and prison-related issues.

“It’s our moral and legal responsibility to ensure anyone who steps foot in this country is guaranteed their fundamental human rights. We’ve seen that the Trump Administration is unwilling to meet this very basic standard, from ripping children away from their parents to not providing adequate health care to some detainees. Everyone deserves their dignity and what is happening at Victorville federal prison is deeply troubling. I will be following up with the leadership of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to demand answers and change.

After meeting with detainees at Adelanto, it became clear to me that there aren’t enough volunteer lawyers for the number of detained immigrants. Many do not have legal representation for their asylum hearing. I urge lawyers to consider doing pro bono work helping detainees."

About Congressman Lieu’s Oversight Visit:

On August 27, Congressman met with employees of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Victorville penitentiary to learn about the conditions of the facilities in which immigrant detainees are housed and about the treatment and services they receive.

The Victorville prison holds more than 4,000 individuals including at least 400 undocumented immigrants. While designed to house criminals, the BOP entered into an agreement with ICE to begin housing immigrant detainees following the implementation of the Trump Administration’s immigration policies. Congressman Lieu met with prison employees and John Kostelink, the President of AFGE Local 3969, and heard from them about how they felt the prison was unprepared to accommodate immigrant detainees. The prison employees communicated that they lack sufficient staff to handle the influx of detainees. They stated they have had to shift staff away from being in a position to respond to disturbances at the maximum security penitentiary, thereby reducing public safety. Moreover, according to the employees, Victorville only has two general doctors (with one of them doing administrative duties) and multiple people have contracted chicken pox and scabies.

Rep. Lieu also visited the Adelanto detention center, which houses over 1,800 immigrant detainees. During his visit to the facility, Congressman Lieu and his staff toured both the West and East wings, viewing the courtrooms, interview rooms, housing units, and dining and recreation areas. He met with female and male detainees who raised concerns about their medical care and ability to communicate with family members.  Some detainees indicated that they had been retaliated against for making their concerns known to other Members of Congress. Many of them do not have a lawyer.