Activists gathered in McAllen to voice their support in favor of an investigation into these allegations.
Gathered at the access Esperanza Clinic in McAllen, state senator Leticia Van de Putte along with pro-immigrant, pro-women health and pro civil rights activists, decided to come together in a united front to call for an investigation into recent accusations of abuse against detained undocumented immigrants.
Last Thursday, the Mexican American legal defense and education fund attorneys filed a formal complaint against ‘GEO Group’, which has operated a detention facility in Karnes County since it’s opening in August.
The complaint accuses 3 guards of committing sexual acts against detained women, referring to them as their girlfriends and asking sexual favors in exchange for money and assistance. At times during the presence of minors.
“I urge the federal government to do an investigation. Unlike the case where we had the unaccompanied minors this summer, where the state of Texas did license those facilities, there had to go by standards, they had to go by process this is for the detainees that is under ‘ICE’ and the state of Texas doesn’t,” explains Leticia Van De Putte, Texas senator.
For organizations like LUPE, this is yet another battle against a company that a year ago had its eyes on opening a facility in the valley.
“For them the most important thing is the bottom line. How much profit can they make, and they are already making a lot of money from each of the persons that they hold at the detention centers. So, when we hear these allegations, we take it seriously,” says Martha Sanchez, L.U.P.E.
In response, the GEO Group tells Fox 2 News:
“GEO strongly refutes these allegations. The Karnes County residential center provides a safe, clean, and family friendly environment for mothers and children awaiting required processing by the U.S. immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) agency. The center provides high quality care, and our company strongly denies any allegations to the contrary.”
Immigration and customs also responded in a statement saying they are in fact investigating these allegations and are committed to ensure a humane treatment of all detainees and that they have a zero-tolerance policy in place.