AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Immigration officials have ordered all detainees at the Aurora Detention Facility be vaccinated. This comes after an outbreak of the mumps and chickenpox was reported.
Reporters were invited to take a tour of the facility which houses up to 1500 detainees. Cameras were not allowed. Instead ICE provided CBS4 with pictures. They do not show the quarantined detainees.
Dormitories and pods where some 357 detainees are held for up to 25 days. Officials say they were exposed to three cases of mumps and six cases of chicken pox.
John Fabbricatore, acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says the illnesses are tied to the influx of detainees sent from the Mexican border.
“It’s hard to say if they are all coming from the border, but the cases we have had recently have come directly from the border.”
CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger spoke with family members worried about the diseases entering the facility run by GEO. Through an interpreter a brother of a detainee said, “He is concerned they are coming from the border. I’m not sure how they are treating them here if they are putting them in isolation.”
The detainees in quarantine are able to do video visits and some in person.
“They are leaving their pods then meeting up with their consuls or their legal represenation with a mask and a gown on,” Fabbricatore said.
He adds the number of medical staff has been increased and all personnel are vaccinated as the facility has greatly expanded. In January, the old ICE detention facility was remodeled and reopened, adding 300 new beds.
“It allows us to take cases from the border and house them here for a short period of time, get them on through our docket, in front of immigration judge and credible fear interview,” Fabbricatore stated.
Rep. Jason Crow said he was denied permission to join the tour. He had previously attempted an announced visit. A spokesperson for ICE said the tour was only for the media and the congressman is welcome to make an appointment for a visit another time.