- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 14, 2019

DENVER — For those who fear the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Colorado may be running short on American flags after Friday’s protest: Not to worry.

Rep. Chip Roy, Texas Republican, said Good Samaritans have been bringing gifts of U.S. flags to the facility in Aurora, something he learned during his Saturday tour of the detention center.

Mr. Roy, who came to Colorado for the two-day Western Conservative Summit, thanked the “numerous patriotic Americans” who took it upon themselves to provide replacements after activists pulled down and then attempted to burn the stars-and-stripes, which he called “completely unacceptable.”

“It’s unconscionable, but you know what? The American flag is back up,” said Mr. Roy in remarks to the Western Conservative Summit at the Colorado Convention Center. “There are patriots who brought flags to that facility. And that’s the right thing to do.”

He said he called and arranged for the tour after seeing news reports of the flag protest, which occurred during the Lights for Liberty demonstration against the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

In a video posted online, Mr. Roy added: “I can tell you this, Old Glory is going to fly over United States government facilities. You don’t like that? We have a saying in Texas: Come and take it.”

Aurora police said activists swarmed the flagpoles, took down the three flags, and replaced them with the Mexican flag, an upside-down, spray-painted “USA Thin Blue Line” flag, and a banner that said, “F*** the Police.”

Protesters described the facility as a “concentration camp,” but Mr. Roy said that he was impressed with the center, run by the GEO Group, which holds 1,200 adults and no children.

“Clean facility. Three square meals. Video games. I-Pads with news sources. TVs. Gyms,” said Mr. Roy. “Fifty-seven countries represented. Only 29% are from Mexico, 11% from around the India region, Africa, Asia. This is what we’re dealing with.”

He said the processing center was designed to hold criminal aliens for detention and deportation, but that it was “80% full with people who are flooding across our border.”

“Eighty percent are people who have been coming through the Southern border, and because of that, we’re not doing interior enforcement,” Mr. Roy said in a video posted on Twitter. “Democrats refuse to fund ICE, they refuse to do what’s necessary.”

In a statement, the GEO Group said it was “appalled by the historically and factually inaccurate portrayal of our facilities.”

“Contrary to the images of other facilities on the news, our facilities have never been overcrowded, nor have they ever houses unaccompanied minors,” said the GEO statement.

Amenities include “air conditioning, a bed for every individual, recreational activities, 24/7 medical care and access to legal services,” said the company.

Rep. Jason Crow, the Colorado Democrat whose district includes the facility, announced last week his office would set up weekly inspections of the center “after a series of disturbing reports about the conditions at immigration detention centers across the country.”

Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz said officers monitored the activists but declined to intervene with the flag-raising protest, citing safety concerns. The rally drew an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 participants.

“Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps” protests sponsored by immigration groups, labor unions and the ACLU Texas were held Friday in multiple U.S. cities.

Mr. Roy joined several dozen prominent conservatives and Republicans, including Donald Trump Jr., Housing Secretary Ben Carson and Sen. Cory Gardner, at the two-day summit, which wrapped up Saturday.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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