Immigrant detainees suing ICE, Jefferson County Justice Center

JEFFERSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Seven immigrants who were held at the Jefferson County Justice Center are suing officials of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Jefferson County, Illinois for alleged unsanitary conditions and with inadequate health care.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by the Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC).

The lawsuit follows ICEs evacuation of dozens of immigrants from the facility in November 2012, due to the center not reportedly meeting medical standards.

"ICEs contract with Jefferson County contradicts Congress' mandate to detain immigrants in facilities that meet humane standards. ICEs failure to adequately inspect and conduct proper oversight of the jail has set the stage for widespread, deplorable conditions of detention," said NIJC Associate Director of Litigation Claudia Valenzuela, co-counsel in the case along with NIJC's Mark Fleming and Chuck Roth. "The government cannot be allowed to confine people in facilities that are unable to provide for basic care and human rights."

According to NIJC, immigrants who were held in ICE custody at Jefferson County during fall 2012 say requests for medical treatment were repeatedly ignored, showers and restrooms were crusted with mold, drinking water was brown and putrid, jail pods were poorly ventilated and jail uniforms were tattered and soiled. They also say immigrants had no outdoor recreation or meaningful access to sunlight.

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