Raul Garcia, Legislative Director, Policy & Legislation Team: “They have been put on notice. They know what they’re doing is wrong, and they just don’t seem to care. This is why it’s up to our government to step in and make sure that this stops.”
What’s at Stake
The Department of Homeland Security has shown flagrant disregard for the health of those in custody, including the improper use of industrial chemical disinfectants and attempting to build new facilities on highly toxic superfund sites.
In a series of legal actions, Earthjustice has sought information — including environmental reviews of sites and analysis of the health and safety impacts on those in detention — on multiple migrant detention facilities to ensure the health of those in custody.
Freedom of Information Act requests have revealed details of multiple proposed migrant detention centers on military bases that may have been in proximity to toxic waste sites.
- Fort Bliss has several Superfund sites, which are polluted locations requiring a long-term response to clean up hazardous material contamination.
- At Goodfellow Air Force Base, the area where tents would have been constructed is directly over a former firing range and adjacent to a closed but uncapped landfill.
Exposure to toxic chemicals from these sites can cause cancer, neurological damage, developmental harm, and many other diseases. The plans for detention facilities at these sites have since been put on hold.
Raul Garcia, Legislative Director, Policy and Legislation, Earthjustice: "I hope they take back what they see, what they smell and what they touch and act upon it with their jurisdiction."