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Juvenile Repatriation Practices at Border
Patrol Sectors on the Southwest Border

Report Number I-2001-010
September 2001



The Border Patrol stations are equipped with holding cells, not detention cells. These holding cells are intended to detain apprehended aliens in a safe and secure environment while they are processed for repatriation or removal to a detention facility. Holding cells are not equipped with sanitary or comfort facilities to properly accommodate detainees for extended periods of time. Unlike holding cells, detention cells are designed and intended as living quarters for detainees.

The American Correctional Association (ACA) Standards for Juvenile Detention Facilities, the ACA Standards for Small Juvenile Detention Facilities, the INS Detention Standards, and the INS Juvenile Protocol Manual specify requirements for detention facilities. However, they do not apply to the holding cells at the Border Patrol stations.

According to the INS Detention Standard, Hold Rooms in Detention Facilities, there are basic provisions that must be met for detainees:

  1. Hold rooms will contain sufficient seating for the maximum room-capacity. The hold room will contain no moveable furniture. Benches may be bolted to the floor or attached to the wall if the wall is of suitable construction. The benches shall provide 18" of seat space per detainee.

  2. The maximum aggregate time an individual may be held in a hold room is 12 hours. The following procedures shall be adhered to:

    1. Unaccompanied minors (under 18 years), persons over the age of 70, females with children, and family groups will not be placed in hold rooms, unless they have shown or threatened violent behavior, have a history of criminal activity, or have given staff articulable grounds to expect an escape attempt.

    2. Detainees shall be provided with basic personal-hygiene items, e.g., water, disposable cups, soap, toilet paper, feminine-hygiene items, diapers and sanitary wipes.

There are different detention standards when a detainee is kept overnight or for a period of time longer than 24 hours. The INS Juvenile Protocol Manual addresses the issue of juveniles unable to be immediately released:

"If a juvenile cannot be immediately released, and no licensed program is available for immediate placement, s/he may be held by INS authorities in an INS contract facility with separate accommodations for juveniles, or in a state or county juvenile detention facility that separates them from delinquent offenders."

The INS Detention Standard and Juvenile Protocol Manual are in accordance with the ACA with respect to facilities. The Juvenile Protocol Manual outlines the physical structure for juvenile housing as stated by the ACA, which requires the following:

  1. Each sleeping room has, at a minimum, the following Sleeping Areas (3-JCRF-2C-01 (Ref. New)):

    1. 35 square feet of unencumbered space per occupant - sleeping area partitions are required if more than four people are in one area;

    2. access to toilets and a wash basin with hot and cold running water 24 hours a day;

    3. a bed, mattress, pillow, desk, chair or stool, and adequate storage space.

  2. The facility has, at a minimum, Showers (3-JCRF-2C-05 (Ref. 6094)) one operable shower or bathing facility with hot and cold running water for every eight juveniles.

The ACA Standards for Juvenile Detention Facilities and the ACA Standards for Small Juvenile Detention Facilities recommend written policy and procedures requiring that articles necessary for maintaining proper personal hygiene are provided to all juveniles (3-JDF-4B-14 and 1-SJD-4B-13). Personal hygiene articles include soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products.