By Jaanvi Kaur
FOLKSTON, GA – The ACLU condemned a recent agreement between the GEO Group and Charleston County that almost quadrupled the size of a South Georgia immigration detention center, the Folkston ICE Processing Center (FIPC).
This agreement would increase the capacity of the facility from 780 beds to 3,018, and would make the FIPC the largest ICE detention center in the country.
The ACLU charged the Biden Administration is not abiding by its promise made in July of 2019 when he ran for President to end private detention.
“President Biden pledged to end all private detention last year while speaking in Georgia. Yet under his administration, private companies have continued to profit off of our country’s reliance on mass incarceration by expanding contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“The news that the GEO Group has reached an agreement with Charlton County officials to create what will be one of the largest immigration detention facilities in the nation is highly disappointing and deeply concerning…”
The state of Georgia, noted the ACLU, is already a major center for human rights abuses carried out by ICE including a horrific number of deaths and widespread medical abuse, and the lack of follow-through on the part of the Biden Administration will only exacerbate this issue.
The ACLU listed a number of issues at the Folkston detention facility, including poor sanitation regarding pests and plumbing, lack of access to legal counsel, confinement of residents for 22 hours in a day, and medical inattention endangering the lives individuals detained at the center.
Rivera added that “private prison corporations like the GEO Group operate with little public oversight and accountability and have abysmal human rights records. The ACLU and government investigators have documented incidents of medical neglect, sexual abuse, suicide attempts, and uses of solitary confinement as retaliation in facilities run by the GEO group.”
Rivera also remarked, “To make matters worse, COVID-19 is surging inside facilities across the country as a result of inadequate protections, putting people who are detained at a high risk of illness and death if infected.”
ACLU Director Rivera stated, “We expect better from the Biden administration. President Biden should make good on his promise to end all private detention and immediately cease partnerships with for-profit corporations to detain immigrants.”