Democratic Rep. Jason Crow announced today his office will start making weekly visits to the privately-run immigrant detention facility in Aurora.
The move is part of Crow's effort to provide proper supervision of the facility, which he believes Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security are not currently providing.
“They’re refusing to conduct the oversight and make some of the changes that need to be made,” Crow explained. “So, we’re going to conduct that oversight.”
Crow has been denied entry to the facility in the past. He expects the weekly visits to begin Monday at 12 p.m. MT. Crow’s staff plan to follow the guidelines provided in ICE’s 2011 Performance-Based National Detention Standards and will make their findings available online.
ICE, when contacted for comment, said they had no response at this time.
The Aurora detention facility, run by the GEO Group, has come under heavy criticism for the treatment of detainees and recent outbreaks of communicable diseases.
In February, Crow sent a letter to DHS expressing concerns about the disease outbreaks at the detention center. Hundreds of detainees were quarantined this spring to prevent the spread of mumps and chickenpox. Crow said he recently received a reply indicating ICE does not have an oversight role over health conditions at privately contracted facilities.
DHS pushed back on that characterization in June. A department spokesperson explained ICE embeds a Field Medical Coordinator to oversee medical care at the Aurora facility.
“ICE is committed to ensuring that everyone in our custody receives timely access to medical services and treatment. Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay,” the spokesperson said at the time.
The DHS Inspector General also made an unannounced visit to the facility and described some of the risks and violations found at the site.
Crow and fellow Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse have requested an oversight hearing on the Aurora facility.