Aurora, CO – Two days into the New Year, Jeanette Vizguerra received a distraught phone call from Dennis Hernández who is a detainee inside the GEO Group’s ICE detention facility in Aurora. Hernández told Vizguerra that he among other detainees had received rotten food two days in a row. Although Vizguerra herself is in a somewhat confined situation, claiming sanctuary from deportation for the last nine months, she immediately contacted the immigrant rights groups she is a part of and a rally was organized for January 6, outside of the detention facility.
Unicorn Riot covered the rally, which you can watch below.
Hernández and his fellow detainees filed a complaint with Officer Becerra and asked when they were going to receive healthy food. He said he did not know.
Mistreatment and neglect at the for-profit Aurora facility is not new. According to an ACLU report Cashing in on Cruelty: Stories of Death, Abuse and Neglect at the GEO Immigration Detention Facility in Aurora (PDF), two recorded deaths at the facility led directly from lack of adequate medical care — Evalin-Ali Mandza and Kaymar Samimi.
“The outbreak [of mumps and chicken pox] led to a lengthy quarantine at the facility, which prevented hundreds of detainees from leaving their pods for court hearings, recreation time, or visits with family or attorneys. At least 50 detainees launched a hunger strike to protest the lock-down.”
On top of the medical neglect and food concerns, there has been an ongoing class action lawsuit against the Aurora detention facility alleging it has been forcing its detainees to help maintain and upkeep it for no more than $1 per day. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allotted ICE nearly 9 billion times that day rate in their budget for the 2019 fiscal year (PDF).
The suit was brought by nine former detainees on behalf of more than 60,000 people. Alejandro Menocal, one of the nine, said “Us detainees, we kept Geo running” at a 2014 press conference when the lawsuit was filed.
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Unicorn Riot's Coverage of the Sanctuary Movement and Immigration:
- Another Immigrant Claims Sanctuary from Deportation in Colorado (Feb. 14, 2020)
- Immigrant Rights Advocates Rally in Response to Rotten Food Given to Detainees (Jan. 6, 2020)
- Ingrid Encalada Latorre Pardoned After 2+ Years Claiming Sanctuary (Dec. 28, 2019)
- The Price to Oversee ICE: 200+ Protesters March in Aurora Suburb Home to GEO Group ICE Warden (Sep. 30, 2019)
- Twin Cities Jewish Community Blockades ICE Building, 27 Cited (Aug. 2, 2019)
- Passions Run High at ‘Close the Concentration Camps’ Protest (July 22, 2019)
- Hundreds in CO Plan Rally to ‘Close the Concentration Camps’ (July 12, 2019)
- Thousands March in Minneapolis to Stop Separating Families (June 30, 2019)
- Jeanette Vizguerra’s U-Visa Denied While in Sanctuary Second Time (June 27, 2019)
- CO Community Gathers Outside GEO ICE Facility on Longest Day of Year (June 21, 2019)
- Occupy ICE Denver Camps Outside GEO ICE Detention Center (Oct. 29, 2018)
- #OccupyICE Movement Grows Momentum in Colorado (Aug. 6, 2018)
- ICE Occupation Emerges at Denver Field Office (July 30, 2018)
- Philadelphia Reduces Police Help To ICE; ‘Occupy ICE’ Camp Moves (July 30, 2018)
- Protesters Occupy Philadelphia ICE Office (July 2, 2018)
- Protests Target ICE Contractor General Dynamics (June 29, 2018)
- Ninth Annual CO Love Knows No Borders, No Walls Vigil (Feb. 5, 2018)
- November Vigil at GEO Group ICE Detention Center in CO (Nov. 6, 2017)
- Ingrid Encalada Latorre Returns to Sanctuary; Four Claim Sanctuary in CO (Oct. 27, 2017)
- Ingrid Encalada Latorre Leaves Sanctuary After Six Months; Granted Temporary Stay (May 27, 2017)
- Indonesian Undocumented Immigrant Detained at ICE Check-In (May 24, 2017)
- Jeanette Vizguerra, Among Others, Celebrate Victories Against ICE Deportation Attempts (May 17, 2017)
- Sanctuary Movement Leader, Arturo Hernandez Garcia, Detained by ICE While at Work (April 30, 2017)
- Jeanette Vizguerra Named One of Time’s 100 Most Influential People as She Remains in Sanctuary (April 22, 2017)
- Crisis: Borderlands (March 14, 2017)
- Arizona Anti-ICE Demo Meets Arrests and Chemical Agents (Feb. 17, 2017)
- Deportations Begin Under Trump’s Regime (Feb. 14, 2017)
- Love Knows No BAN No Walls Vigil at GEO ICE Detention Center (Feb. 8, 2017)