June 25, 2019

Congressman Neguse Requests Judiciary Committee Hearing on GEO Private Detention Facility in Aurora, CO

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Neguse sent a letter to the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, which he serves on, requesting an oversight hearing to investigate the activities of the private corporation, “GEO Group, Inc.,” regarding the Aurora, Colorado GEO detention facility. The request comes on the heels of reports last week of continued mistreatment and unsanitary conditions for hundreds of migrant children in detention facilities at the southern border, many detailing circumstances where children were forced to sleep on cold concrete floors, not provided toothbrushes or soap or adequate nutrition in these facilities. Complaints of insufficient care have been made at the Aurora facility over the last several years, all of which have gone largely unaddressed. 

“Given that the GEO Group detains people in civil immigration matters, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution mandates adequate medical care in their confinement,” states a portion of the letter from Congressman Neguse. “However, a report filed one year ago with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (“CRCL”), the Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”), ICE, and ICE Health Service Corps, by the American Immigration Council, underscores the woefully inadequate medical and mental health care at the facility.  ICE has yet to respond to the formal complaint, and there have been numerous reports that the issues referenced in the initial complaint persist.”

Since 2012, two people have died in the Aurora, Colorado GEO facility, and there continue to be reports of substandard medical care. Since the beginning of this year, there have been several outbreaks of infectious diseases affecting hundreds of people at the facility. Nearly 150 people are currently in quarantine, making them unable to meet with counsel or attend their court dates. Additionally, government investigations of the facility report that it has been in violation of multiple ICE standards for medical care, outdoor recreation, in-person visitation and restraining detainees in solitary confinement.

“I take very seriously the requirement that people in the custody of the US government must be safe and able to access basic medical care while in custody,” Congressman Neguse states in the letter. “As we continue the important  work of the 116th Congress, I believe an oversight hearing on the foregoing issues is critical.”