Rep. Jason Crow (CO-06) announced this week, that his office will take the unprecedented step of setting up weekly visits to the Aurora Contract Detention Facility in his district. The launch of weekly visits comes after a series of disturbing reports about the conditions at immigration detention centers across the country and ICE’s refusal to claim responsibility for medical conditions at private, for-profit immigration detention centers. In past remarks, acting Denver Field Director gave assurances that congressional staff, if providing advance notice, would not be denied entry.
The visits began Monday, July 15, and will be conducted by Crow’s congressional office and, schedule permitting, Crow himself. During the visits, congressional staff will conduct oversight following guidelines outlined in the Performance-Based National Detention Standards 2011. Afterwards, the public can find copies of the report on Crow’s congressional website.
“It’s clear that ICE has fallen down on the job and refuses to take responsibility for immigrants in its care. The conditions in these detention centers are appalling and an affront to our American values and the dignity of all people,” said Crow. “While we wait for Mitch McConnell to pass legislation and hold ICE accountable, we are launching a boots on the ground effort to fill the gaps of oversight. We must exhaust every avenue to find a solution.”
In his first six months in office, Crow has fought to hold ICE accountable. After receiving multiple reports of substandard conditions and disease outbreaks at the facility, Crow visited the facility on February 20 to request a tour and was turned away by ICE. After multiple requests, Crow finally received a tour on March 15, 24 days after his initial request. Since then, Crow has introduced the Public Oversight of Detention (POD) Act to require detention facilities to provide access to members of Congress within 48 hours of request, partnered with Rep. Neguse (CO-02) to request an oversight hearing on the GEO private detention facility in Aurora, and secured an amendment in the NDAA to prohibit defense funding to be used to house children forcibly separated from their parents.
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