Crow Secures Language in Homeland Security Funding Bill to Require Detention Facilities to Provide Access to Members of Congress
WASHINGTON - Following a series of viral disease outbreaks and reports of poor conditions at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility and other detention facilities around the country, Rep. Jason Crow (CO-06) secured language in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill base text to require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities and their privately run facilities to provide access to Members of Congress and Congressional staff if a request is made at least 24 hours in advance. The bill follows Crow’s February 20 visit to the Aurora Contract Detention Facility where he was denied access for 24 days.
The language, which is included in the base text of the fiscal year 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, is a direct response to a letter Crow led on April 9 to Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Ranking Member Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03) along with 19 of his House colleagues. The letter calls for an increase in oversight of detention facilities operated by or for DHS. The funding bill will be marked up by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security before heading to the full Appropriations Committee and then on to the House floor for a vote. The incorporated language heavily mirrors the Public Oversight of Detention Centers (POD) Act, a bill Crow introduced last month that would require congressional access for adult and juvenile detention facilities through DHS and the Department of Health and Human Services.
“This is a win for transparency, accountability, and good governance. We’ve seen first-hand what happens when ICE is allowed to operate in the shadows and the risk that poses to public health. Today, we proved that here in the 6th district, we won’t sit ideally by while those in power put our community at risk” said Crow. “I extend my thanks to Homeland Security Chairwoman Roybal-Allard for her work in helping push this important fix and ensure its inclusion in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill.”