The newly-established Detainee Intercultural Center at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) El Paso Processing Center in Texas is a place where men and women in ICE custody can reflect, meditate and worship. The modest 13-by-55 foot structure is part of the existing building.
"The El Paso Processing Center is the only ICE detention facility in the country with such a dedicated center," said Sandra Marinelarena, the interim assistant field office director, addressing the group of attendees at the center's dedication ceremony held in early October.
"The new Detainee Intercultural Center, not onlyserves the spiritual needs of people in our custody, but it's part of ICE's larger effort to reform the immigration detention system as a whole," said ICE Field Office Director Adrian Macias. "For the past three years, ICE has been making a concerted effort to move away from a punitive immigration detention system to one that's more suited to civil immigration. The Detainee Intercultural Center in El Paso is another positive step in that direction."
Also in attendance at the dedication ceremony was Father Joseph Molina of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in northeast El Paso, who blessed the new center. Leaders of all religious denominations are available at the Detainee Intercultural Center to minister to the spiritual needs of detainees, as well as lead religious services.
The El Paso Processing Center, sometimes referred to as the El Paso Immigration Detention Center in El Paso, houses immigrant detainees who are awaiting deportation or have pending immigration cases before the El Paso Immigration Court. The facility has space for approximately 840 inmates and an average daily population of 750 adult detainees. Because of the facility's proximity to the border, it sometimes serves as a staging area for ICE to hold immigrants before removal. Detainees at the processing center are awaiting deportation for criminal activity or are being held for entering the country illegally.
Learn more about the El Paso Processing Center.