In December our newsroom began planning how we would cover the Trump administration’s immigration policies. After spending a year examining how mentally ill inmates were treated in California jails, reporter Julie Small and I were in a good position to turn to see how immigrant detention was working at many of the same places.
Using a combination of public record requests and interviews we began to work on a series of larger features, while covering breaking news like the travel ban and fears of local raids.
In early March we aired and published our first major feature examining how despite California politician’s declaring war on the Trump administration, the Golden State is enmeshed with immigration detention and court.
Through data obtained from FOIAs we were able to show how immigration detention has played out in local California jails and private prison facilities. We also looked at how the backlog of cases in California immigration courts could be a significant hurdle to the administration.
The story also aired nationally, on Here and Now.
In a May feature we focused on how a California bill would end private prison contracts with ICE in the high-desert town of Adelanto, and hold local jails to higher standard of care. For that story we used data obtained from ICE, the Department of Justice and California agencies. We also spoke to experts, including the man who formerly headed up the division that created ICE’s current standards.
This story also aired on Here and Now.