Immigration Detention Accountability Project

Detention Cages Dreams.

Public art painting on a grungy concrete wall of birds flying free through a hole in a fence

Immigration prisons don’t get us out of a problem. They are the problem.

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

Purpose

The purpose of the Immigration Detention Accountability Project (IDAP) is to protect the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants in ICE detention. To that end, IDAP fights to ensure immigrants have adequate care and are humanely treated and not discriminated against on the basis of disability. CREEC does this through class action litigation, direct representation, and serving as an educational resource to the greater legal community, immigrant community, and their allies.

How IDAP Helps

  • We represent organizational and individual plaintiffs in systemic change litigation addressing failures in ICE detention.
  • We also engage in individual representation for detained immigrants to advocate for better medical and mental health care, as well as disability accommodations. We provide assistance to other attorneys, community organizers, and other allies and supporters of detained immigrants. 
  • CREEC provides education, materials, and support for those fighting on behalf of immigrants with disabilities in detention.

If you or someone you know is experiencing discrimination at an immigration detention facility, we can help!

If you’re an attorney or advocate with a client experiencing discrimination, we can help!

IDAP Leadership

Liz Jordan joined CREEC as our first CREEC Fellow in June 2017, proposing a project to challenge conditions in immigration detention facilities. After law school, she worked first as a Fellow with the Capital Appeals Project in Louisiana, where she represented capital defendants on appeal. She then represented immigrant children facing deportation in New York with The Door’s Legal Services Center. Prior to law school, Liz spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain studying human rights issues and several years as an international human rights advocate in New York. She received her BA from Yale College in 2006. She is admitted to practice in Louisiana and New York.

Selected Casework

E.A.R.R. v. DHS

CREEC and our partners at the Texas Civil Rights Project and Orrick, Herrington & Suttcliffe LLP filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of asylum seekers with disabilities and their families challenging the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) policy that has forced them to await their immigration proceedings in Mexico, instead of being processed into the United States.

Amicus Brief to Board of Immigration Appeals

In April 2021, CREEC and partners filed a brief of amici curiae (“friend of the court”) in support of Everod Reid, an individual with mental health disabilities who was not provided the necessary accommodations to fully participate in his immigration proceedings.

Fraihat v. ICE

In August 2019, CREEC and co-counsel filed a class-action lawsuit against Immigrations Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security to fight discrimination against immigrants with disabilities. Case: Fraihat v. ICE.

Teneng v. Trump

In August 2018, CREEC, along with The American Civil Liberties Union, and Prison Law Office, filed a class-action lawsuit against President Trump and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for violating the constitutional rights of immigrants detained at FCI Victorville, a federal prison in Victorville, California. Click here to read the full Victorville case page. Read the full case.

Outdoor access at Etowah County Detention Center

In March 2018, CREEC, along with the Southern Poverty Law Center, sent a letter to the Etowah County Commission and Etowah County Sheriff, urging officials to include outdoor recreation for immigration detainees in renovation plans for the Etowah County Detention Center (ECDC).

FOIA filed against ICE – February 2018

In February 2018, CREEC filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking the disclosure of documentation of detainee deaths, alleged abuse, and other substandard conditions of confinement at the Adelanto and Etowah immigration detention facilities. CREEC is represented pro bono by Thomas B. Kelley and Amber R. Gonzales of Ballard Spahr LLP. Click here to read the full FOIA case page.

Class Action

CREEC filed a class-action lawsuit against President Trump and Attorney General Sessions over the poor conditions in ICE detention centers. Result: The suit was settled pre-trial.

Others

IDAP has several cases that are in process.

Selected Presentations and Articles

Public Comment to DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL)

On August 20, 2021, CREEC submitted a public comment to DHS highlighting how the process of submitting medical and disability complaints to CRCL is not accessible to detained people. Read more about these issues, and our recommendations, here.

Recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration on Immigrants with Disabilities

January 2021 – IDAP issued a series of policy recommendations to the incoming Biden-Harris administration. Read the recommendations here.

Locked Up in Lockdown: new challenges for those incarcerated and detained during the pandemic

October 8, 2020 – IDAP presented as part of a virtual conversation with state and national experts presented by Rutgers Center on Criminal Justice, Youth Rights, and Race, Rutgers Immigrant Rights Clinic, and Rutgers Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic.

Migrating as an LGBTQ Person: The Journey From Remain in Mexico to Asylum Proceedings

January 2020- IDAP presented on a panel, “Migrating as an LGBTQ Person: The Journey From Remain in Mexico to Asylum Proceedings,” at the Denver University Civil Rights Summit

Civil Rights Groups Charge that ICE Disregards Immigrants’ Medical, Mental Health Needs and Ignores Discrimination Against Immigrants with Disabilities

October 2019 – “Civil Rights Groups Charge that ICE Disregards Immigrants’ Medical, Mental Health Needs and Ignores Discrimination Against Immigrants with Disabilities,” published in Civil Rights Insider, Fall 2019 edition, pg 4.

New Frontiers in Detention Litigation

October 17, 2019 – IDAP presented about CREEC’s work on Fraihat v ICE and disability rights work for incarcerated immigrants in the session titled, “New Frontiers in Detention Litigation” at the National Immigration Project’s annual membership meeting in Durham, NC.

Current Disability Rights for Immigrants: Legislative and Regulatory Landscape

September 25-26, 2019 – IDAP participated in two panels: “Current Disability Rights for Immigrants: Legislative and Regulatory Landscape” and “Spotlight: Mental Health and Immigration” at the Chicagoland Immigration and Disability Summit 2019 in Chicago, IL.

Spotlight: Mental Health and Immigration

September 25-26, 2019 – IDAP participated in two panels: “Current Disability Rights for Immigrants: Legislative and Regulatory Landscape” and “Spotlight: Mental Health and Immigration” at the Chicagoland Immigration and Disability Summit 2019 in Chicago, IL.

Fraihat v. ICE Press Conference

August 19, 2019 – We spoke at the Fraihat v. ICE Press Conference in August, demanding accountability from ICE for the treatment of detainees.

Colorado Challenges Immigration Detention

October 2018 – CREEC spoke to law students at Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver at the “Colorado Challenges Immigration Detention” part of the DU Crimmigration Law & Policy Event Series.

Detention Watch Network’s 12th National Member Conference

May 2018 – CREEC participated in the Detention Watch Network’s 12th National Member Conference.

IDAP Resources

Rights of Detained Immigrants with Disabilities Fact Sheet. To get in contact with the IDAP team, please contact: idap@creeclaw.org

IDAP Mission Statement

CREEC believes that immigration detention – in which people alleged to have violated civil statutes are confined in prison-like settings – is inherently constitutionally suspect and should be abolished. However, while detention is sanctioned by the courts and Congress, CREEC’s Immigration Detention Accountability Project (IDAP) will fight to ensure that people held in ICE custody are held in constitutionally adequate conditions, receive constitutionally adequate care, and are not discriminated against on the basis of disability. We will undertake this work at the individual, facility-specific, and system-wide level, in the form of direct representation, class action litigation, and serving as resources and educators for the disability rights and immigration communities.