Crow, Colleagues Call on Biden Administration to Act on Government Report Detailing Failures of ICE Detention System

May 11, 2021
Press Release
Crow, 41 Members of Congress Call on Administration to Close Impacted Immigration Detention Facilities

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Jason Crow, joined by 41 of his colleagues, sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas and Acting Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tae D. Johnson, calling on the Administration to act on a recent government report that detailed serious mismanagement and failures by ICE. 

The report, released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on February 12, 2021, documented key failures of ICE’s immigrant detention system as it opened dozens of new detention facilities between 2017 and 2020, detaining thousands of immigrants in locations known to be unsafe and remote, and wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer money with irregular contracting terms. 

The lawmakers called on DHS to act on these findings and close impacted facilities, including those in remote locations; those that were opened without clear justification; and those with clear records of abuse.

“Instead of reflecting our values as a nation and treating all people with dignity and respect, our immigration detention system is driven by profit,” said Congressman Jason Crow. “Since taking office, I have fought for accountability and to bring an end to the for-profit immigration detention system. President Biden inherited a failing immigration system . We have a chance to create a more humane and just immigration system. It starts by closing the facilities ICE opened without proper authorization and shutting down facilities with records of abuse.” 

"Over the last four decades, we have seen unchecked growth in the architecture used to detain, abuse, and degrade immigrants," said Eunice Cho, senior staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project. "The recent Government Accountability Office report acknowledged that 28 of the 40 facilities opened since 2017 were opened over the objection of ICE's own staff. These facilities are in remote locations, far from advocates, medical centers, and legal aid. If the Biden administration is serious about building a more just and humane system, it will shut down these facilities and commit to letting the people who have been released during the pandemic remain free."

Crow has called for ICE to end its contracts with private prison contractors following reports of deplorable conditions in Aurora’s ICE Detention Center and other private, for-profit immigrant detention centers across the country. In January, Crow led an effort to call on the Biden Administration to end contracts with private immigration detention centers. 

In May 2019, Congressman Crow introduced legislation that would require congressional access to ICE detention facilities, after he was denied entry to Aurora’s ICE detention site following a series of viral outbreaks. The legislation was enacted into law in December 2019. Crow’s office has conducted weekly visits to the Aurora Contract Detention Facility since July 2019. 

A copy of the letter can be found online