Earlier this month, an estimated 40 immigrant women announced a hunger strike at the Karnes County Residential Center in Texas, where GEO Group houses immigrant women and children on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The women, some of whom had already cleared the first hurdle to being granted asylum, were demanding that they and their children be released.
It’s the federal government, not GEO, which makes release determinations.
But immigrants had also previously alleged mistreatment, including physical mistreatment, at the GEO-run facility that went beyond immigration status decisions. In a written response, GEO told The Post that, “Earlier this year, the findings of a comprehensive investigation conducted by the Office of the Inspector General corroborated the unfounded and unsubstantiated nature of prior allegations.”
Karnes, wrote GEO, “provides high quality care in a safe, clean, and family friendly environment, and on site U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel provide direct oversight to ensure compliance with ICE’s Family Residential Standards.
“Our company has consistently, strongly denied allegations to the contrary.”
Further, said GEO, just about anyone can come to the center and see for themselves, citing “an open and transparent policy of allowing visits to the Center by the public, elected local and national officials, federal officials from ICE and other government agencies, as well as nongovernmental organizations.”
The hunger strike, meanwhile, appears to have ended.