Saturday, May 8, 2021

EPA Says that Private Prison Company Poisoned Immigrants at ICE Facility for a Decade

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have found that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility operated by the private prison company GEO Group has been poisoning detained immigrants for nearly a decade.

This week, the EPA issued a final report following a seven-month long investigation that revealed the Adelanto Detention Facility in California has misused a toxic pesticide without adequate ventilation as a COVID-19 disinfectant. In a notice of warning to the GEO Group, the EPA cited multiple violations over a nine-year period.

The findings of these investigations were flagged by the Earthjustice, an environmental law nonprofit that is part of the Shut Down Adelanto Coalition calling for the facility to stop operations. The coalition said in a statement, “This report confirms what those in detention have known for far too long — that GEO doesn’t care about the health and safety of immigrants. But more than that, they don’t even regard immigrants as human. There is no reform possible when we are starting the conversation with an argument about the basic humanity of a group of people.”

According to Earthjustice, exposure to HDO Neutral has been linked to multiple adverse health effects such as infertility, birth defect, asthma, and other respiratory and reproductive harm. The group noted that detained immigrants have reported HDO Neutral was sprayed every 15-30 minutes at the Adelanto facility.

The GEO Group responded to the EPA’s concerns by claiming that the label allowed a high concentration of HDO Neutral for “animal premise disinfectant or animal virucidal uses.” In their statement they further said “During this time, there was no indication of confirmed medical claims associated with the use of HDQ Neutral. HDQ Neutral is also widely used in hospitals, nursing homes, youth centers, and colleges and universities. At the present time, a product other than HDQ is being utilized at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center.”

Immigrants who were detained at the GEO Group facility were interviewed, one of them stated, “I started bleeding from my nose after being in contact with a strong chemical they are using. I am still bleeding, more than five hours later. Another immigrant stated, “The disinfection spray that the facility is using is hurting us and when I blow my nose, blood comes out.”

The American Independent