Some immigrant women say they have been abused. According to CNN:
Women detained at an immigrant holding facility in southern Texas allege workers there have sexually abused them, including by removing them from their cells at night for sex as well as fondling them in front of others, lawyers wrote in a letter to federal officials this week.
Some guards or other workers at the Karnes County Residential Center also asked sexual favors of female detainees in exchange for money or promises of assistance – including help with their immigration cases or shelter if they are released – the lawyers allege in the letter.
The allegations were detailed in a Tuesday letter from several immigrant advocacy groups to officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, which had hired one of America’s for-profit prison operators to run the facility.
“We call for an immediate investigation into these serious allegations of sexual abuse and the immediate protection of all women and children forced to reside in the facility,” the letter, sent by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) on behalf of all the advocacy groups, reads.
Geo Group Inc., the company that runs the facility, told CNN it strongly refutes the allegations.
“The Karnes County Residential Center provides a safe, clean, and family-friendly environment for mothers and children awaiting required processing by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency,” the Geo Group’s vice president of corporate relations, Pablo Paez, said. “The center provides high quality care, and our company strongly denies any allegations to the contrary.”
I have no way of knowing if the allegations are true. Telling lies about people in authority is an age-old human custom. But so is using your authority to abuse people.
If there is not video footage that can vindicate the guards or confirm what the accusers say, then I would like to know how much sense it makes to construct a prison as a completely secret area where things can be done without any record.
We can expand on the question of just how open and accountable these facilities are where these women are being kept. Last I recall, a contract worker told an elected Congressman to go make an appointment and denied him entry to one.
What kind of behavior can we expect in places where people are given a great deal of authority over other people in a location that is secret from the outside world?
I realize that Geo Group is a private company and not a Department of the Government. But Healthcare.gov used private contractors too. The corruption of government sometimes spreads to those who transact with it.
And while we are thinking about the possibilities, another question comes to mind: Did Geo Group bid for their contract in an open, legal process? Sorry, but one has to ask such questions when government is involved. Did Geo Group do any lobbying beforehand? And did they report such lobbying?