The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced new policies to strengthen protections for detained noncitizens with serious mental disorders or conditions.
An ICE release said the new guidance focuses on identifying, treating, and monitoring ‘this particularly vulnerable population’.
“ICE continues its efforts to implement policies and directives that support a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system,” said ICE Acting Director Tae D. Johnson.
Updates to the new ICE directive include:
- Providing ICE-specific guidelines on identifying, monitoring, and tracking detainees found to have a serious mental disorder or condition;
- Ensuring ICE will provide to EOIR the information relevant to an individual’s serious mental disorder or condition for an immigration judge to determine whether the individual is competent to represent themselves in removal proceedings;
- Instituting additional safeguards prior to the transfer, release, or removal of individuals with serious mental disorders or conditions and/or who are incompetent to represent themselves in removal proceedings before EOIR, including communication protocols between ICE and attorneys of record, legal representatives, or qualified representatives to ensure efficient information sharing and coordination between the relevant parties; and
- Requiring ICE to properly document in the “Enforce Alien Removal Module,” and any successor systems, all relevant information regarding detained noncitizens who have been found to have a serious mental disorder or condition.
According to ICE, all persons in its custody generally receive a comprehensive examination from a qualified health care professional within 14 days of arrival at a detention facility.
The purpose of the examination is to identify any medical, mental health, or dental conditions.
“Individuals identified as having serious mental disorders or conditions are provided appropriate treatment and monitoring. Additionally, information relevant to an individual’s mental state is provided to EOIR so an immigration judge can assess the individual’s competency and appoint counsel if necessary,” the U.S. enforcement body stated.