U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis criticizes private immigration detention centers, welcomes action

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Washington, August 30, 2016 | comments

Boulder, Colo. – Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) welcomed news that the Dept. of Homeland Security will review its use of private contractors to operate immigration detention centers.  Colorado has a massive, private, 1,500+ bed immigration detention facility located in Aurora, just off of I-70.

The Dept. of Homeland Security’s decision follows the Department of Justice’s announcement on Aug. 18 that it will end its use of for-profit prisons.

"The majority of immigrants who are subject to our immigration detention system – including many asylum seekers, women and children – are held in expensive, private facilities that filter billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded government contracts to two morally bankrupt corporations. Taxpayers are forced to pay over a hundred dollars a night per person for months on end,” said Polis.

“If the use of private facilities is detrimental to our criminal justice system, as the Dept. of Justice recently determined, it follows that private facilities should also be avoided in our civil immigration system. For-profit detention centers with tiered pricing schemes incentivize the prolonged detention of the greatest number of immigrants possible and are fundamentally inconsistent with our values as a nation.  Taxpayers deserve better,” Polis added. 

Polis has been an advocate for reducing the use of immigration detention centers and closing private immigration detention centers.  In 2012, Polis called for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate incidences of sexual violence against immigrants in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security.  He has authored several columns on the topic, and is a vocal proponent of comprehensive immigration reform.  

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