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FOLKSTON, G.A. –– This past Wednesday, July 27, a group of immigrant rights organizations filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman (OIDO) requesting an investigation into “excessive and retaliatory use of force, inhumane treatment, and rights violations” against individuals detained at the Folkston ICE Processing Center (FIPC) by guards employed by GEO Group, the for-profit prison company contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to run the facility. The complaint, which was signed by Innovation Law Lab, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Malaya Movement USA’s Georgia Chapter, Project South and the Southern Poverty Law Center, comes as investigations continue into the sexual assault of detained immigrant women by a government contracted nurse at Stewart Detention Center, another immigration detention center in the state.

“The people detained at this privately run, publicly funded immigration detention center are facing very serious abuses that put not only their legal cases, but also their lives and wellbeing at risk in so many ways,” said Allison Crennen-Dunlap, Staff Attorney with Innovation Law Lab. “We’re calling on the government to investigate these violations and to ensure that those directly impacted by them are truly part of that investigation. That means they must be released and they must not face any kind of threats or retaliation like they have at the hands of GEO Group staff inside this ICE facility.”

“We call on the government to do its job and investigate these credible allegations of abuse and dehumanization,” said Adelina Nichols, Executive Director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. “These are community members and loved ones who have been harmed and our government owes them answers. We stand by these brave individuals and ask how many more must be denied their dignity before there is transparency and accountability?”

According to multiple reports by individuals detained at FIPC since April 16, 2022, GEO Group staff have committed abuses that include unprovoked violent assault resulting in a jaw injury, retaliatory use of solitary confinement in one case for 54 consecutive days, shouting derogatory remarks and deliberate denial of medical attention, all of which are violations of basic rights, including the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, and the Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS). Garsumo Dorley, who is currently detained at FIPC, has repeatedly denounced this retaliation and abuse, including by joining with rights groups to send a demand letter to ICE, yet he continues to face mistreatment and unjust detention.

The organizations that filed the complaint requested that the DHS oversight agencies conduct a transparent formal investigation, provide Mr. Dorley’s legal representative video footage of the dates of certain incidents, release all potential witnesses and survivors of undue use of force at FIPC and ensure they can freely participate in the investigation without fear of retaliation.

You can read the full text of the complaint online.

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Innovation Law Lab, based in Portland, Oregon with projects around the United States, is a nonprofit organization that brings together technology, lawyers and organizers to advance immigrant and refugee justice. For more information, see and follow us on social media: Innovation Law Lab on Facebook and Instagram and @ThinkLawLab on Twitter.

The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights educates, organizes, and empowers Latinos in Georgia to defend and advance their civil and human rights. Established in 2001, GLAHR is a community-based organization that develops statewide grassroots leadership in Latino immigrant communities.

Project South was founded as the Institute to Eliminate Poverty & Genocide in 1986. Our work is rooted in the legacy of the Southern Freedom Movement, and our mission of cultivating strong social movements in the South powerful enough to contend with some of the most pressing and complicated social, economic, and political problems we face today.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people.