October 28, 2020

Members of Congress Ask GEO CEO to Clarify Testimony on Forced Labor Allegations

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Joe Neguse led a letter with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kathleen Rice, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Congressman Jason Crow, and Congressman Ed Perlmutter, to George Zoley, Chief Executive Officer of The GEO Group, Inc., requesting that he clarify his testimony before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations at a July 13, 2020 oversight hearing examining U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contractors’ response to COVID-19.

During the hearing, Representative Joe Neguse (CO-2) asked the following: “Has GEO ever coerced immigration detainees into volunteering to perform work by threatening or imposing disciplinary segregation, administrative segregation, or solitary confinement or any other kind of sanction?” And Mr. Zoley’s response was “Absolutely not.”

That testimony appears to contradict recent statements filed in Menocal v. The Geo Group, Inc., as well as recently unsealed documents supporting allegations of the use of solitary confinement to coerce participation in “voluntary” work programs at immigration detention facilities managed by the GEO Group. The documents include reports that appear to show detainees at the Aurora ICE facility being placed in solitary confinement for refusing to clean common areas, which would be a violation of ICE’s Performance-Based National Detention Standards.

“The documents appear to show evidence that GEO sent immigrant detainees to solitary confinement for refusing to work, in contravention of ICE’s own policies and the Company’s testimony,” said Congressman Neguse. “American taxpayers deserve transparency from witnesses testifying before Congress,” Congressman Neguse added.

Read a copy of the letter here.