Grijalva Calls on DHS to Release Internal Reviews of Eloy Detention Center
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) sent a letter today to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson expressing concern over the number of deaths that have taken place at Eloy Detention Center outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Since October 2003, 14 deaths have been reported at the center, most recently, José de Jesús Deniz-Sahagún on May 21, 2015. In accordance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy, the circumstances surrounding every detainee death are subject to review by the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). In his letter, Grijalva calls on Secretary Johnson to make public its reviews for notable fatalities – particularly two that took places just days apart in 2013, and the review it is currently conducting into Mr. Deniz-Sahagún’s death. Rep. Grijalva released the following statement:
“Eloy Detention Center has averaged more than one fatality per year for the past twelve years, and that is utterly unacceptable,” said Rep. Grijalva. “The fact that ICE reviews each incident after they occur begs the question of what they are finding, and what they are doing to end this terrible trend. The American people have the right to know what this for-profit prison is doing while under contract with the federal government, which is why I am asking Secretary Johnson today to make their reviews public.”
The full text of Rep. Grijalva’s letter is available here and below.
I write to express concern over the alarming number of detainee deaths that have taken place at Eloy Detention Center, located outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Since October 2003, there have been 14 reported deaths at the center – most recently, José de Jesús Deniz-Sahagún on May 21, 2015. Mr. Deniz-Sahagún’s death was deemed a suicide, however detainees at the facility report that he was beaten by guards and imprisoned in solitary confinement prior to his death. This, along with other incidents, such as the suicides of Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzalez and Jorge Garcia-Mejia just two days apart from each other in April 2013, have me deeply concerned that a culture of harsh treatment has developed at Eloy Detention Center, contributing to the desperation of its detainees and ultimately leading some to take their own lives.
In accordance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy, the circumstances surrounding every detainee death are subject to review by the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). I respectfully request that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement make public its review of Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzalez and Jorge Garcia-Mejia’s deaths from 2013. Furthermore, I request that ICE make public its report into José de Jesús Deniz-Sahagún’s death upon its completion as well.
As the Eloy Detention Center is privately run, for-profit facility contracted by the Department of Homeland Security, it is truly essential that its operations are transparent and at parity with the high standards the American people expect.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and attention to this request. If you have further questions please contact Norma Salazar in my office at Norma.Salazar@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-2435.