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ICE limits Karnes detainees’ access to pro bono lawyers and volunteers

  1. Original Date Announced

    May 7, 2019

    ICE makes several changes limiting detainee access to pro bono lawyers and volunteers at the Karnes detention center. According to a letter to ICE from the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), recent changes to Karnes visitation practices include prohibiting detained individuals from retrieving documentation from their rooms during legal consultations; prohibiting detained individuals from the waiting room outside the visitation area when no staff or volunteer is immediately available to meet with them; and prohibiting “the RAICES team . . . [from] enter[ing] visitation as a group until there was a 1 to 1 ratio of prospective or current clients available to meet with each person on . . . [the] team.” [ID #403]

    Re: Access for Pro Bono Volunteers at Karnes Detention Center
  2. Effective Date

    April 15, 2019

Current Status

Fully in Effect

Original Trump Policy Status

Status: Reported
Trump Administration Action: Change in Practice
Subject Matter: Detention
Agencies Affected: ICE

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • May 7, 2019 Prior practice at Karnes, in line with the “ICE/DRO Residential Standard” for visitation (Family Residential Standard 5.8), allowed detained individuals to retrieve documentation from their rooms during legal consultation and to wait in the waiting room outside the visitation area. Karnes authorities also allowed the RAICES team to enter the visitation area as a group. ICE/DRO Residential Standard for Visitation


  • RAICES: Immigration and Customs improperly denying migrants access to free lawyers

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