AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Dozens of people have chosen to camp, protest and march outside the Aurora GEO ICE detention center for the last several weeks. Those doing so say they are calling on the ICE facility to release all detainees amid fears of the spread of COVID-19.
However, ICE officials have notified CBS4 previously they have no intentions of doing so.
Some campers, like Kesha Davalos Grijalva, told CBS4 they would stay outside the facility until the government released every person from their custody.
“We started camping out here once we found out there was an outbreak of COVID-19,” Davalos Grijalva said. “We have started camping out here since May 23. Today is day 57.”
Davalos Grijalva and her young daughter are some of the many who have moved in to tents outside of the facility. A small community has been formed where they are able to gather for meals, entertainment and even art projects.
Davalos Grijalva’s husband was being detained in the facility until his recent transfer. However, she decided to continue sleeping and protesting outside the facility to advocate for others.
“It’s not fair for our loved ones to be locked up in a place like this without any precaution,” Davalos Grijalva said. “We’re going to stay here until they free them all and we shut this down.”
CBS4 reached out to ICE for comment on the protests taking place on July 18, however did not hear back prior to this story being published. However, in a previous email, a spokesperson said the protesters were calling for the release of many accused, and some guilty, of violent crimes.
They provided information about one man who was wanted out of Mexico before fleeing to Colorado.
They also noted one of the detainees the protesters are wanting released is accused of human rights violations in Gambia after he was linked to tortures.
Davalos Grijalva said, though the ICE staff isn’t complying with their demands, she knew the message of the protests were making in to the facility.
“(Detainees) are very grateful that we are out here, and they can hear us each and every day, when we are chanting to them,” Davalos Grijalva said. “It makes them know they are not alone.”