SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ State authorities are investigating the conduct of security firms that hold foreigners detained in immigration cases following complaints that some aliens have been shackled to bed frames.
State law bars security guards from using handcuffs unless they are holding a person under citizen’s arrest, said Gordon Boranian, deputy chief of the state Bureau of Collection and Investigative Services, who confirmed that an investigation was under way.
Under carrier-custody regulations, aliens are detained while immigration officials determine whether they may legally enter the United States.
The Sunday edition of the San Francisco Examiner reported that one case involved Philippine citizen Avellina Francisco, who was detained Feb. 8 along with her baby and a friend at San Francisco International Airport.
An immigration inspector alleged that their passport photographs had been forged, according to Ms. Francisco’s attorney, Crisostomo Ibarra.
Following federal regulations, the inspector turned the three over to Japan Airlines pending further investigation, and JAL called a security firm to hold them, Ibarra said.
The friend, Felicidad Ocampo, was shackled to a bed frame in a motel room for two nights, Ibarra said.
In a separate case, Rep. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., complained to the INS that a constituent’s British sister and 14-year-old nephew were detained in Newark, N.J., before they were allowed to enter the country.
″The guards refused to leave the hotel room when they changed to their night clothes, followed them to the toilet, and refused her water for a headache tablet,″ Ms. Boxer said.
In February, attorney Marc Van Der Hout said he complained to the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service in San Francisco that three Salvadoran clients had been shackled in motel rooms by San Mateo Security Services, one of three San Francisco Bay area companies that have agreements to handle aliens.
One of his clients had handcuffs on her ankles all night, Van Der Hout told the INS.
William Lovett, owner of San Mateo Security Services, declined to discuss custody procedures for ″the protection of my own men and the protection of the aliens themselves.″
Aliens are treated well in his custody, Lovett said.
″They have a lot more weight, they have a lot more rosier cheeks, and they are a lot fatter than when they came,″ he said.