The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman (OIDO) is officially open for business. OIDO unveiled its newest tool to receive detention condition complaints: the OIDO Case Intake Form (DHS Form 405) – a complaint intake form to be used by individuals released from detention as well as detained individuals’ friends, families, advocates, and attorneys to bring an issue to the attention of OIDO. The Office has been building its operations over the past 18 months and now has a team in place to accept complaints from across the country.
Previously, OIDO only accepted these complaints in-person through case managers stationed in detention facilities, and occasionally through direct interaction with an attorney or advocate for a person in detention.
OIDO can assist with complaints about the conditions of immigration detention from the point an individual is taken into custody to the point they are released.
OIDO also recently released its 2021 Annual Report to Congress and the public. The Report details significant strides made by the independent office to examine the treatment of detainees and promote safe and humane conditions in the Nation’s immigration detention and custody facilities.
“OIDO is now a persistent presence in select detention facilities nationwide,” said Acting Immigration Detention Ombudsman David Gersten. “We are assessing individual complaints, conducting announced and unannounced inspections, reviewing detention contracts, and carrying out studies and surveys to capture new and innovative perspectives on detention. Our unique role distinguishes OIDO as an important and unbiased conduit of information for policymakers and those who manage the detention and custody missions for DHS as we work to support safe and humane conditions within immigration detention facilities in the United States.”
The Office’s goal for 2022 is to build on its substantial growth, while continuing to fulfill its role as an objective, independent watchdog and intermediary for complaints related to immigration detention. The Office will expand relationships and cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and other DHS oversight offices and make recommendations to these entities on immigration detention and custody conditions.
The Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman (OIDO) is a new and independent office within the Department of Homeland Security. OIDO is not a part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is not a part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). OIDO is a new office within oversight entities and was established by Congress to assist individuals with complaints about the potential violation of immigration detention standards or misconduct by DHS (or contract) personnel; provide independent oversight of immigration detention facilities, including conducting announced and unannounced inspections, and reviewing contract terms for immigration detention facilities and services; and serve as an independent office to review and resolve problems stemming from the same.