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Group claims new Aurora ICE detention center is operating without a license, demands it be shut down

Posted at 10:10 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-16 12:00:35-05

AURORA, CO. -- A group of immigration attorneys says they have proof the ICE Detention Facility in Aurora is operating their new 400-bed location without a license.

Now they are calling on the City of Aurora to shut down the detention center.

“Geo intentionally and very consciously said we don’t want a license at East 30th Avenue,” said Danielle Jefferis, counsel with Novo Legal.

Geo Group opened the 400-bed facility in January, bringing the total number of beds at the two detention centers they operate in Aurora to 1,500.

The law requires a business to apply for and receive a general business license for each location they operate. Novo Legal says the last license at the location of the new 400-bed facility was a transport company.

“These are human lives that are being housed 24 hours a day, so this just raises nothing but more questions,” said Jefferis.

The license is just the latest concern among a long list of health and safety complaints from detainees.

“First of all their food is atrocious they found worms in their food in there,” said Priscilla Cruz-Moreno.

Cruz-Moreno’s husband Henry was detained by ICE in September. They have been married for 20 years. She is fighting to stop him from being deported to Honduras. She says he has been quarantined for weeks at a time for chicken pox outbreaks and is currently under quarantine for a measles outbreak.

“So there’s no visits we can talk by phone last night for Valentines we tried to video,” said Cruz-Moreno. “We thought he was being deported today and it would be the last time that I would see him.”

She says they have fought with ICE and Geo Group to get Henry proper medication.

The Geo Group has not responded to Denver7’s request for their business license and health and safety inspections.

In 2017 they reported $2.3 Billion in profits. They are one of the largest private contractors ICE has hired to run detention facilities.

“In the immediate what we are doing is calling on the city of Aurora to shut this space down,” said Jefferis. “If we are not convinced that there are adequate safety measures in place, that it is being regulated, that it is being held accountable. We can’t ensure the detainees inside and their families that they are safe.”