FOLKSTON —— A group of immigrant rights organizations has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of the Ombudsman for Immigrant Detention, opening an investigation into “excessive and retaliatory use of force.” calls for “inhuman treatment and violations of the law” against people arrested at the Folkston ICE Processing Center by guards employed by GEO Group, the for-profit prison company hired by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to run the facility .
The complaint, signed by Innovation Law Lab, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, the Georgia Chapter of the Malaya Movement USA, Project South and the Southern Poverty Law Center, comes amid investigations into sexual assaults on immigrant women in detention by one of government-contracted nurse at Stewart Detention Center, another state immigration detention center.
“The people who are held in this privately run, publicly funded immigration detention center are subjected to very serious abuses that endanger not only their legal cases but their lives and well-being in so many ways,” said Allison Crennen-Dunlap, a staffer Lawyer with Innovation Law Lab, said. “We are calling on the government to investigate these violations and ensure that those directly affected are genuinely part of this investigation. This means they must be released and face no threats or retaliation of the kind they are experiencing at the hands of GEO Group employees at this ICE facility.”
“We call on the government to do its job and investigate these credible allegations of abuse and dehumanization,” said Adelina Nichols, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. “These are community members and loved ones who have been harmed and our government owes them answers. Standing with these brave people, we ask how many more must be denied their dignity before there is transparency and accountability?”
According to multiple reports from people detained at the FIPC since April 16, GEO Group employees have committed abuses, including unprovoked violent assaults that resulted in a jaw injury, the use of solitary confinement in retaliation for 54 consecutive days in one case, shouting derogatory remarks and willfully denying medical care that violate all fundamental rights, including the First Amendment right to free speech and merit-based national prison standards. Garsumo Dorley, currently detained at FIPC, has repeatedly denounced these reprisals and abuses, including by joining forces with human rights groups to send a letter of demand to ICE, yet he continues to face abuse and unjustified detention.
The organizations that filed the complaint asked DHS regulators to conduct a transparent formal investigation, provide Dorley’s legal representatives with video footage of the data of specific incidents, release all potential witnesses and survivors of FIPC’s improper use of force, and ensure that they may freely participate in the investigation without fear of retribution.