NEW YORK — Newly released federal data indicate that US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been holding immigrants in solitary confinement in America’s 50 largest detainment facilities. Perhaps more disturbing is the revelation that all illegal immigrants were immediately detained in the Statue of Liberty, the country’s most fortified prison for immigrants. ICE only began using the other 50 facilities when the main branch at the Statue of Liberty hit capacity.
Speaking anonymously, one senior ICE official said, “President Ulysses S. Grant asked for this facility from the French as a warning to any who would try to immigrate here illegally.” “It’s a fierce looking prison,” he continued, pointing out how the situation resembles “something you’d expect from a super villain. I’m proud to work here, defending America’s borders from these tired and poor immigrants.”
The data indicates that in the 50 facilities—many of which owned by private, for-profit corporations—there are about 300 immigrants being held in solitary confinement on any given day. Half of those 300 are held for 15 or more days, a length of time psychiatric experts say could cause “severe mental harm.”
Rep. Don Young (R-AK) said, “Look, 300 wetbacks? Who cares? There are 34,000 wetbacks in prisons across America on any given day, and 300 wetbacks is less than 1% of incarcerated wetbacks.” Told that the detained illegal immigrants come from hundreds of countries around the world Young replied, “They’re all wetbacks to me.”
“God bless Lady Liberty,” said hard-line Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio when asked about the immigrant prison. “Without Her, the first immigrants of this past century would’ve had no place to be detained in harsh conditions that push people to the very precipice of sanity.”
Immigrant detention is up 85% since 2005. This increased incarceration rate is costing taxpayers more than many of them realize. It is widely agreed that solitary confinement is the most expensive form of incarceration, with a cost of around $122 per day per inmate, making solitary confinement a lucrative business for many privately-owned prisons.
As yet, it is unclear why these immigrants are subjected to such harsh treatment. One ICE official, who asked for anonymity to speak frankly, said, “Why? Oh, lots of reasons: fighting, spitting, cussing, smelling like food, speaking Spanish, speaking Muslim, quotas, making sure the stockholders are getting a return on investment. You know, lots of reasons.”
Pushed on the legality of such detentions, the official flexed his bicep and said, “That? Illegal? Huh?”