ICE Detention Center in El Paso.
PAUL RATJE / AFP / Getty Images
The government of President Donald Trump designated Luke Bellochi as first defender of the rights of detained immigrants, which should be in charge of investigating the numerous complaints from migrants held in detention centers and activist groups.
According to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Bellocci has been Human Rights Defender at the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), and prior to that he was an assistant in charge of legislative affairs at the Border Patrol. He also held a position in the Department of Transportation.
Related: They wanted to remove my belly, “says a survivor of medical abuse at an ICE center in Georgia
In his LinkedIn profile he defines himself as a “specialist in policy and crisis management in the public and private sectors”. He is a member of the National Association of Republican Lawyers.
The new position
The FY2020 budget law created the Immigration Detention Ombudsman Office that will deal with DHS “matters arising in detention facilities” and will be independent of the immigration agencies. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The appointment to this new position comes after 21 people died in ICE custody last fiscal year, a record number in the past decade, and was Report unnecessary gynecological procedures to detained women in immigration detention centers, prompting requests for investigation by federal congressmen.
At the beginning of the year the acting undersecretary of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli, commissioned the establishment of that office to Julie Kirchner, former leader of FAIR, a group that advocates for the restriction of immigration.
The BuzzFeed platform He reported then that Cuccinelli had also asked Tracy Short, a former ICE chief who has signed instructions for the agency to stop granting relief to certain migrants facing deportation, for help in setting up the office.
Within Trump’s policy that, since the beginning of 2019, detains undocumented immigrants awaiting deportation, instead of releasing them until a court hearing, ICE had more than 40,000 men, women and children in its custody in February initially in detention centers across the country.
Related: ICE implements rule that will affect any undocumented immigrant
Since then the figure has dropped to around 19,000 people, held in centers where lawyers and civil rights groups have denounced overcrowding and lack of medical care amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Congress approved $ 10 million for the Office of the Ombudsman for the purpose of dealing with inappropriate treatment of detainees at ICE sites, and to conduct inspections and give recommendations to improve the conditions of detainees.
With information from EFE