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Migrants are gathered inside the fence of a makeshift detention center in El Paso, Texas on Wed. March 27, 2019. Photo: Sergio Flores for The Washington Post/Getty Images

Over a 5-year stretch during both the Obama and Trump administrations, thousands of migrants were placed into solitary confinement while in ICE custody, nearly half of whom had not appeared to violate any known rules, according to government documents newly obtained and reported by NBC News.

"Solitary confinement was being used as the first resort, not the last resort,"
— Ellen Gallagher, a policy adviser with the Department of Homeland Security told NBC

Gallagher also described the misconduct within solitary confinement as "urgent and at times life-threatening."

Details: A review of thousands of documents from 2012 to 2017 — retrieved by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with the Freedom of Information Act — included detention records and court fillings, as well as interviews with current and former detainees from around the world.

Their findings included:

  • Many of the detained migrants are reportedly disabled, mentally ill or identify as LGBTQ.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement attributed much of the use of solitary confinement on vulnerable people to safety concerns. However, internal guidances require detention officials to record alternatives considered before resorting to isolation. Gallagher claims she often saw no evidence that ICE had pursued other options.
  • In isolation, detainees are on lockdown for at least 22 hours each day.
  • Detainees only had attorneys in 11% of the cases.

The United Nations has characterized the use of solitary confinement as "torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," adding that confinement for 15 or more days should be banned, barring rare circumstances.

Go deeper: Jail can be a death sentence for the mentally ill

Go deeper

The E-commerce shopping spree

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Retailers have gotten really good at selling stuff online. So much so, investors want them to separate from the business units that do just that.

Why it matters: Spinning off these crown jewels may jeopardize both the physical and e-commerce sides of the companies in the long run by breaking the benefits of hybrid operations, analysts say.

2 hours ago - World

U.S. envoy to visit Sudan as "most dangerous" crisis intensifies

The sit-in in Khartoum. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty

U.S. envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will visit Khartoum this week amid what Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has called the “worst and most dangerous" crisis of Sudan’s transition to democracy, two sources with direct knowledge tell Axios.

Driving the news: Roughly 2,000-3,000 people had joined a sit-in in Khartoum as of this afternoon, per Reuters, after protesters massed over the weekend to call on the military to bring down the government. The protests came just four weeks after a failed military coup.

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

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