Anti-rape laws to defend immigrants in US detention centers

March 01, 2014
Anti-rape laws to defend immigrants in US detention centers
Image Credit: © 2007 Getty Images
The Department of Homeland Security said on Friday that immigrants under arrest in US detention centers will get additional protection against sexual exploitation and abuse.

The proposed measures will be applied to people in immigration detention centers run by Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcements. 

The Department of Homeland Security is committed to promote safety measures and  bring down (or, prevent)  sexual abuse, Jeh Johnson, Secretary, said in a news release. New rules applicable to the detention centers will strengthen the values in DHS confinement facilities and make certain, robust oversight. 

Though there is a law that was designed in the year 2003 to abolish rape in US prisons, it is not applied to detention and immigration centers. In May 2012, the Obama administration ordered federal agencies with detention centers to prepare rules to detect, prevent, and act in response to sexual abuse and to abide by the 2013 law on violence against women, according to DHS officials.

Senator Patrick Leahy, who was the sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act of last year, praised the move.

Over 30,000 immigrants are in custody in the federal detention centers on any day, and rights-based groups have been highlighting the sexual exploitation and violence risk for years. 

A report released by the Human Rights Watch 2010, depicted documented allegations and incidents of sexual exploitation at detention centers in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Washington state, New Jersey, New York, California and Wisconsin. The report said that the allegations and incidents are too numerous and too serious to ignore.
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