Phillip Miller, field office director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says, the Etowah County Detention Center meets the current US ICE national detention standards.
"We're doing a job that we're required to do, but we think we're doing it in a humane way, we're doing it in a balanced way, we're doing it in a way that is standardized," says Miller. "The conditions of confinement, the level of care are in coordinance with those standards. The last time this jail was inspected, they had no defiencies out of any of the required areas."Inside the detention center on average 325 illegal immigrants are housed. They have been detained from across the country.
On average, a detainee is in the facility for 90 days. Some stay for as long as a year."Those folks who have been here generally for that long, we're having to negotiate their return to their home country, or they are not cooperating with us as we negotiate for their return," says Miller.With 325 detainees and capacity for 879, Miller says overcrowding is not an issue. "The three housing units that are used to house detainees, each one can hold up to 120, we have about 100 in each one," Miller says.ICE came under criticism for conditions inside the facility and what the detainees have access too. Miller maintains, there is a level of transparency for anyone wanting to learn more. "Look at the 2000 national detention standards and they will see, what are they getting in medical, what are they getting from the kitchen, what are the requirements for transportation, all of those things are available and are transparent," says Miller.