WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas today calling for the closure of 39 Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities. ACLU supporters will also be messaging Secretary Mayorkas to call for the closure of these detention facilities.

“The Biden administration was elected with a mandate to fix our broken immigration system, and immigrant detention is an early test of its resolve,” said Naureen Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel at the ACLU. “Closing detention sites should be an easy decision. Millions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted to maintain thousands of empty beds and keep asylum seekers and immigrants in inhumane and life-threatening conditions. The number of detained people is currently lower than it’s been in two decades: President Biden has a unique moment to shrink the infrastructure that’s been used to abuse and traumatize immigrants for decades. It’s time to end our nation’s newest system of mass incarceration of Black and Brown people.”

The ACLU is calling on the Biden administration to close detention facilities that meet the following criteria:

As found by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), opened without adequate justification, in violation of ICE’s own process for obtaining new detention space;

In remote locations with compromised access to legal counsel and external medical care; and/or

With documented patterns of inhumane treatment or conditions.

Fiscal Year 2020 was the deadliest year in ICE detention in 15 years. Last year alone, we saw reports of increased use of force, solitary confinement, patterns of sexual abuse, forced sterilization, and an utter failure to protect people from COVID-19. ICE’s extreme recklessness in handling the COVID-19 virus showed the blatant disregard it had for the health and well-being of detained people, as well as the extent to which it was willing to lie or obfuscate to avoid accountability.

Through COVID-19 related litigation, advocacy, and the shutdown of asylum under the Trump administration, detention rates dropped to rates lower than we’ve seen in two decades. There are currently more than 15,000 people detained — this is just over a quarter of the people who were detained at the peak in 2019. ICE is currently wasting over $1 million a day on guaranteed minimum bed space that isn’t being used. The ACLU’s list is intended as a starting point for the administration to begin ending the mass criminalization and default incarceration of undocumented immigrants.

Below is the full list of facilities the ACLU is calling to shut down:

Etowah County Jail, Alabama

Eloy Detention Center, Arizona

La Palma Correctional Center, Arizona

Adelanto Detention Center, California

Desert View Annex, California

Imperial Regional Detention Facility, California

Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility, California

Otay Mesa Detention Center, California

Yuba County Jail, California

Baker’s County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Glades County Detention Center, Florida

Krome North Service Processing Center, Florida

Irwin County Detention Center, Georgia

Stewart County Detention Center, Georgia

Allen Parish Public Safety Complex, Louisiana

Catahoula Correctional Center, Louisiana

Jackson Parish Correctional Center, Louisiana

LaSalle ICE Processing Center, Louisiana

Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center, Louisiana

Richwood Correctional Center, Louisiana

River Correctional Center, Louisiana

South Louisiana Correctional Center, Louisiana

Winn Correctional Center, Louisiana

Bristol County House of Corrections, Massachusetts

Calhoun County Correctional Facility, Michigan

Adams County Detention Facility, Mississippi

The Shelburne County Jail, Minnesota

Otero County Processing Center, New Mexico

Okmulgee County Jail, Oklahoma

Clinton County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania

Pike County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania

York County Prison, Pennsylvania

Bluebonnet Detention Facility, Texas

El Valle Detention Center, Texas

T. Don Hutto Residential Center, Texas

IAH Secure Adult Detention Facility, Texas

Montgomery ICE Processing Center, Texas

Prairieland Detention Facility, Texas

Farmville Detention Center, Virginia

The letter is online here.