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Are longtime regulations for detainees being 'Trumped'?

Seeking jail space for their continued crackdown on illegal immigration, the new presidential administration is rumored to be reining in requirements that exist in detaining immigrants. Rules that date back 15 years are about to be proverbially "trumped" to entice local law enforcement officials to make their facilities available.

The language of the new contracts issued to jails will supposedly rollback regulations that, for now, currently include:

  • Notifying immigration officials if detainees spend two weeks in solitary confinement
  • Communicating to detainees in languages they can understand on ways to obtain medical care
  • Responding to requests for evaluations by a professional within 24 hours
  • Performing routine checks every 15 minutes on inmates and conducting daily evaluations of their mental health
  • Providing English-speaking staff members to communicate on behalf of the detainees during disciplinary hearings

Homeland Security officials, asking not to be identified, provided insight into the policy modifications. Rumored changed include removing any mentions of translation services. In addition, the rule covering medical care requests will be replaced with requirements for jails to have procedures on providing medical care.

Policies for suicide prevention, solitary confinement, and others will remain. However, specifics on those rules have yet to be communicated.

To make contracts more palatable for law enforcement officials who resisted the additional accommodations, jails will follow the same standards for detainees that they already do for all inmates. This goes against the longstanding designation of detainees having "civil" status, not criminal, requiring different treatment.

According to the officials with knowledge of the new requirements, ICE has approved the contractual language and is awaiting a further approval by the Department of Homeland Security.

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