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May 9, 2024

Civil rights advocates file administrative complaint against ICE and the GEO Group 

ADELANTO, CA – Today, the Shut Down Adelanto Coalition, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, and the Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic filed an administrative complaint with the Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman (OIDO) against ICE and the private corporation GEO Group over repeated practices of denying detained immigrants access to attorneys, basic medical care, and safe food and water at the Desert View Annex in Adelanto.  

The complaint details numerous instances where the GEO Group and ICE violated federal standards governing immigration detention:

  • Privileged conversations between detained individuals and their attorneys are continuously disrupted to the point of eliminating access to legal representation. 
  • In lieu of treatment, individuals contemplating suicide are placed in solitary confinement, which can have detrimental and potentially fatal effects.  
  • Critical care including surgeries that have been approved have been significantly delayed; some stalled for months. 

One detained individual who is mentally ill was drinking shampoo and stayed up all night. Instead of referring him to a medical provider per federal standards, ICE and the GEO Group staff kept transferring him to different dorms. Others report the facility refused them necessary dental care, reading glasses, and appropriate medications. 

“It is resoundingly clear that the GEO Group is incapable of operating a safe facility,” said Eva Bitran, director of immigrants’ rights at the ACLU SoCal. “The ombudsman's office must correct the conditions at Desert View Annex, and if it is unable, it should end its contract with the GEO Group and close the facility.” 

The OIDO was established in 2019 to investigate and redress complaints about violations of immigration detention standards or other misconduct.

“OIDO’s statutory mandate requires it to take action when the GEO Group and ICE fail to comply with detention standards and federal law,” said Jayashri Srikantiah, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School

The complaint calls on OIDO to conduct an immediate and unannounced investigation of the facility and publish its findings; increase transparency around grievances filed by detained individuals at the Annex; and encourage the GEO Group and ICE to adopt standards for attorney-client communications consistent with the Torres injunction. 

This action builds on a series of complaints leveled against the Desert View Annex and its sister facility, the Adelanto ICE Processing Center— both GEO contract facilities. Desert View can hold up to 400 individuals and advocates estimate there are currently 200 people detained. ICE’s contract with the GEO Group requires at least 1,455 detainees at Adelanto. However, due to ongoing litigation the facility remains empty while only detaining five people. 

“All community members deserve medical care, and clean food and water,” said Esmeralda Santos, organizer with the Shut Down Adelanto Coalition. "The for-profit enterprise of jailing immigrants encourages unnecessary detention, waste of taxpayer resources, and irreparable harm to immigrant families. The only solution is to close these facilities”. 

The complaint was drafted by the Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic in collaboration with the ACLU SoCal and the Shut Down Adelanto Coalition. 

Read the complaint