Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) needs extra oversight on the Immigrant and Customs Enforcement detention facility in his district ― so his workplace is planning to make weekly visits to evaluate the circumstances for immigrants there.
On Tuesday, Crow introduced that beginning July 15, he or his employees will go every Monday to the Aurora Contract Detention Facility, which is run by non-public jail contractor GEO Group, and fill out a report on migrants’ well being, meals, sanitation and extra. They’ll then put up the report on their web site.
Latest experiences have detailed horrific circumstances for migrants in detention facilities throughout the nation, notably in Customs and Border Patrol amenities on the southern U.S. border.
ICE’s Aurora facility, which is in Crow’s district and about 5 miles from his residence, has reported well being points, together with circumstances of mumps and chickenpox, amongst detainees this yr. Final month, ICE confirmed to Quartz that it had discovered almost 300 circumstances of mumps throughout 39 amenities since September 2018.
“We have horrific conditions at facilities around the country. There are extreme challenges at the border, but have had numerous disease outbreaks at the facility in my district,” Crow advised HuffPost, including that GEO Group has been “unable or unwilling to deal with this in the right way.”
GEO Group didn’t instantly reply to HuffPost’s request for remark. In March, an organization spokesperson advised Reuters that GEO Group’s medical professionals comply with requirements set by ICE and well being authorities. ICE advised HuffPost it might not be commenting right now.
“We’re doing this to shine a light on this issue, and we know when there’s increased transparency, it does lead to some improvements,” Crow added, noting that since he went to the ability in February, detainees have gotten immunizations. But he mentioned there’s nonetheless “a long way to go.”
Crow’s workforce mentioned it’ll “stop the visits when ICE stops detaining people in subhuman conditions.”
ICE turned Crow away when he first went to the Aurora facility in February and solely allowed him in for a tour almost a month later after a number of requests. However he mentioned that this time, he had notified ICE’s regional director and had been given “assurances” he’d have entry to the ability.
“And if they don’t let us in, I’ll document that too,” he mentioned.
Earlier this week, Crow additionally known as for abolishing ICE contracts with for-profit, non-public corporations to run immigrant detention facilities like Aurora. He mentioned ICE “hide[s] behind private companies to justify continued abuses.”
A report earlier this yr from the inspector basic for the Division of Homeland Safety discovered that ICE was not adequately policing contractors working immigrant detention facilities and that severe issues have been going unreported. ICE issued solely two fines to contractors between October 2015 and June 2018, per the report, regardless of discovering greater than 14,000 deficiencies in that point interval. One facility was fined for repeated deficiencies in well being care.
Crow famous his workforce’s weekly visits aren’t meant to interchange inspectors basic or different kinds of official oversight, for the reason that drawback of poor circumstances at migrant detention facilities is “big and has to be solved through legislation and changes of leadership.”
Fairly, Crow mentioned he intends to point out DHS that he’s “serious” about getting extra oversight at these amenities and hopes such visits will enhance circumstances for the individuals detained there.
Final week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and different members of Congress visited migrants in detention facilities on the border in Texas. The congresswoman known as the go to “horrifying,” saying girls inside a CBP facility in El Paso have been held in cells with out water and that at the very least one girl mentioned officers advised her to drink out of the bathroom.
“It’s important that Congress and elected officials roll up their sleeves, conduct oversight and hold people accountable,” Crow mentioned. “This is a moral issue. There are people dying at these facilities around the country, there are very inhumane conditions. This is the time to do the work.”
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