Since last summer's influx of migrants from Central and South America, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been detaining asylum seekers in private detention centers in Karnes City and Dilley, TX. The facilities are marketed as family-friendly, but legal advocates for the detained have been working to shine a light on the deficiencies. They aren't alone.
Last month, Federal Judge Dolly Gee ordered that the facilities be closed within 90 days due to the "widespread deplorable conditions."
Monday, several women sued the detention centers, which are run by GEO group and CCA, Corrections Corporation of America, for widespread problems regarding medical care and neglect. The lawsuit follows an official complaint filed with DHS and the U.S. Department of Justice by many of the detainees. You can find their specific complaints here.
We reached out to GEO Group about the allegations being made and they declined our invitation to come on the show but did provide a statement:
“The Karnes County Residential Center provides high quality care in a safe, clean, and family friendly environment, and onsite U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel provide direct oversight to ensure compliance with ICE's Family Residential Standards. Our company has consistently, strongly denied allegations to the contrary. Earlier this year, the findings of a comprehensive investigation conducted by the Office of the Inspector General corroborated the unfounded and unsubstantiated nature of prior allegations. Since its activation, the Karnes County Residential Center has, under direction and guidance from ICE, created an open and transparent policy of allowing visits to the Center by the public, elected local and national officials, federal officials from ICE and other government agencies, as well as nongovernmental organizations.”
- Aseem Mehta, Fellow with the Immigrant Justice Corps, who works with detainees at the Dilley, TX facility