ICE to protect non-citizens with mental disorders

WASHINGTON, USA, CMC – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced new policies to enhance the protection of detained non-citizen Caribbeans and other immigrants with serious mental illnesses or disorders.

The new guidelines, addressed in “ICE Guideline 11063.2 Identification, Communication, Record Keeping, and Planning for the Safe Release of Inmates with Serious Mental Disorders or Disorders,” focus on the identification, treatment and surveillance of this particularly vulnerable population. “ICE continues its efforts to implement policies and guidelines that support a fair, orderly and humane immigration system,” said ICE Acting Director Tae D Johnson. “The directive reinforces existing guidelines regarding the treatment of prisoners with a serious mental disorder or condition, including policies regarding their safe transfer, removal or release, where appropriate and authorized by law,” continued Johnson.

ICE said its new guidance aligns with and reinforces the U.S. Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) policy, which provides certain procedural protections for unrepresented detainees.

sponsors with severe mental disorders or conditions “that may render them unfit to represent themselves in immigration proceedings”.

The new directive includes: Providing specific guidance to ICE on the identification, monitoring and follow-up of inmates with a serious mental disorder or condition; and ensure that ICE provides EOIR with information relating to a person’s serious mental disorder or condition for an immigration judge to determine if the person is competent to represent themselves in the context of dismissal proceedings.

The directive also calls for additional safeguards to be put in place prior to the transfer, release or removal of immigrants with serious mental illness or disorder and/or who are incompetent to represent themselves in removal proceedings before the EOIR, including communication protocols between ICE and case attorneys, legal representatives or qualified representatives “to ensure effective information sharing and coordination among affected parties,” ICE said.

In addition, the directive requires ICE to document in the “Appropriate Alien Removal Enforcement Module” and any successor system, “all relevant information regarding detained non-nationals who exhibit a disorder or serious mental condition”.

In accordance with ICE’s National Detention Standards, ICE said that all persons in its custody generally receive a comprehensive examination from a qualified medical professional within 14 days of arriving at a detention center to identify any medical, mental health or dental condition.

“Individuals identified as suffering from serious mental disorders receive appropriate treatment and monitoring,” ICE said.

“In addition, relevant information about an individual’s mental state is provided to the EOIR, so that an immigration judge can assess the individual’s competence and appoint an attorney if necessary,” added ICE.

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