The ICE detention facility in Aurora, officially known as the “Denver Contract Detention Facility,” is run by GEO Group, a private company contracted by ICE to operate immigration detention facilities. These facilities are civil, not criminal, but you wouldn’t know that by speaking to anyone who has been detained there.
Recently there have been outbreaks of chicken pox and mumps at the Aurora facility, and GEO has expanded its facility into its old building to increase the facility’s capacity by 432 beds. The increased number of beds has been linked to the arrival of individuals at the southern border, any of whom are seeking asylum. However, this increase was not reported to the city of Aurora, nor has ICE confirmed whether the increase in beds has corresponded with the increase of officers and medical staff.
One detainee who was quarantined in October during the last outbreak of contagious diseases told a reporter that he was not allowed to leave his dorm unit and was not told why. He said he and his dorm mates weren’t allowed to go to the recreated yard, see visitors, speak to their attorneys in person, or attend their immigration hearings. The detainee said it took weeks for the doctor to visit their dorm at all, which increased their frustration with being on unexplained lockdown.
With the increase in beds and the probable lack of an increase in medical staff, the current outbreak will likely not be handled any better. After hearing about the reports of the outbreak and increase in beds, U.S. Representative Jason Crow and Aurora City Councilwoman Allison Hiltz made a visit to the facility but were refused entry. They were told by GEO officials that they had to make an appointment to take a tour of the facility. In response, Crow wrote a letter to the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, to ask for information about the contract between ICE and Geo Group, as well as the increase in beds and the medical treatment of the recent outbreaks. He expects to be waiting a while for a response to that letter.
The poor conditions of the Aurora detention facility are not new, but the increase in individuals detained there appears to be caused by the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies. Joseph & Hall P.C. continues to fight for detained immigrants, including in their requests for bond and parole. If someone you know is detained, or if you have questions about your immigration options, contact our office for a consultation with one of our attorneys.
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