Imperial Detention Center “Totally Opposite” of What Some University Students Thought it Would Be

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Criminal justice students from San Diego State University toured MTC’s Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Calexico, California. With so much attention being drawn to immigration recently, the students were particularly interested in seeing the workings of a facility under contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.

“It’s very clean, well maintained,” said senior Armando Barcena. “They have a lot to offer here; some of the programs I was surprised they had. From getting your GED [in the] Mexican standard, [to] competitions that keep their atmosphere happy.”

Ashley Lytle is also a senior. “In the past I have visited other facilities,” she said, “and they don’t seem to be as clean as this one. This one seems very clean and well-kept.”

The students saw not only the workings of a well-run facility; some also saw opportunity.

“Before touring this facility,” explains Armando, “I never thought I’d actually think about joining MTC or this facility. After touring here and seeing the environment and how everything is done, if given the opportunity, I would like to work for a place like this.”

“Walking into the female dorm,” observed Ashley, “one thing I noticed was they seemed to be very happy; the atmosphere doesn’t seem like they’re sad at all. They seem as if they’re very content, as if they’re treated well. I had a few of the females even say hi and greet us and kind of welcome us into their dorm which was surprising to me. Because in the media, it portrays that facilities are just negative, and it was totally opposite walking into it.”