U.S. Senators from Nevada are calling for an investigation into an Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) facility days after a captain from the facility was found to have posted on a neo-Nazi website.
Democratic senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General to investigate the Nevada Southern Detention Center in Pahrump, Nevada after a VICE News report found that a captain from that facility was active on a neo-Nazi website.
- The captain has been identified as Travis Frey, 31. Frey worked as a captain at the facility, which is run by CoreCivic, a private company that runs several ICE facilities, according to VICE.
- Frey reportedly joined Iron March, a neo-Nazi website, in 2013 and posted multiple times on the site between 2016 and 2017 before being hired by CoreCivic at a jail in Indianapolis, Indiana, which holds detainees, as head of security, VICE reported.
- On the website, Frey used the screen name “In Hoc Signo Vinces,” which is Latin for “In this sign thou shall conquer.” The phrase is a slogan for the American Nazi Party.
- Frey began working at the Nevada Southern Detention Center around 2018, according to VICE. In one post from November 2016, Frey wrote that he believed the “heads of world governments and the entertainment industry are under Satanic influences.” The post continued: “Dark, dark shit goes on in the corridors of power and these rats need to be purged from their nests,” Frey wrote, according to the news outlet.
- In June 2017, Frey reportedly expressed interest in organizing a local chapter meeting of the Traditionalist Worker Party group, which is a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated hate group.
- Frey was placed on administrative leave from his job as captain following the revelation in Vice. In a statement to VICE News, Amanda Gilchrist, director of public affairs at CoreCivic, wrote: “The employee in question has been placed on administrative leave while we review the information that has come to light. We recognize the inherent dignity of the human person and the need to treat every individual with respect.”
What the Senators are saying
In their letter to Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari, the senators addressed their concerns about the Nevada facility, noting that an inmate was murdered at the detention center and an employee had committed suicide.
“It is imperative that any private company contracted with the federal government to operate a detention facility be held to the highest standards of care and management. It is also critical that transparency and oversight not be hindered because the facility is operated by a private entity through a federal contract,” the letter read.
The senators requested that the DHS investigate staff and conditions of the Nevada facility, as well as determine if the facility complies with health and safety standards, employee safety and to ensure that ICE oversees CoreCivic’s compliance under their contract. The North Star has reached out to ICE for comment via email but did not hear back in time for posting.
“The federal government has an obligation to ensure that individuals in its care, whether in a federally- or privately-operated facility, are subject to safe and healthy environments,” the letter continued.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.