USA: 750 immigration detainees on hunger strike

A story from the site of AP

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Immigrant-rights activists rallied outside the Northwest Detention Center on Saturday, while at least 750 detainees protested their treatment and called for an end to deportations with a hunger strike.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department said on Saturday morning that 750 detainees had refused to eat and said they were on a hunger strike.

Activist Maru Mora Villalpando said the hunger strike started Friday as a protest of deportations as well as center conditions. She said the hunger strikers, who she believes number more than 1,000, are seeking better food and treatment as well as better pay for center jobs.

“We are concerned for their welfare, and we support their brave stand against inhumane treatment. We are gravely concerned about retaliation, particularly against the hunger-strike leaders,” Villalpando said.

The center currently houses nearly 1,300 people being investigated for possible deportation.

Read the rest here.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s new Directive on Segregation: Why We Need Further Protections

New Report:
In the press:

U.S. Solitary Confinement Practices of Immigrant Detainees Deficient: International Human Rights Students, Experts at John Marshall in Chicago

From: PR Web, Feb. 5, 2014

New research from the International Human Rights Clinic at The John Marshall Law School details deficiencies in current U.S. detention practices, as well as recommends measures to ensure immigrant detainees are protected and treated humanely.
Read the rest here.

Visitation Guide published by CIVIC to enable awareness for visiting people in immigrant detention facilities

We received this from an active group called CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement), which is the national immigration detention visitation network in the USA.

Visitation, visiting people inside immigrant detention centers, enhances their psychological wellbeing as well as their human need for companionship from outside, and it is also necessary to prevent human righs abuses from taking place or from being easily inflicted.

When people from the outside visit, those inside feel a little safer, knowing that those on the outside know their situation. And they get a break from being forced to be locked up for an uncertain amount of time. Visiting is very important, powerful, and very much needed. Here is what CIVIC wrote:

Everyday immigrants disappear and are detained by the U.S. government.

For example, Ana is a human trafficking victim who was detained for over a year, locked in solitary confinement, and forced by a guard to sleep on the cement floor of her cell until Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) ended this isolation and abuse.

Over 32,000 immigrants like Ana remain isolated in these remote detention facilities today because no
law protects a right to visitation, phone calls can cost up to $5.00 per minute, and 46% of detained migrants are transferred at least twice–often out of state and away from their families.

CIVIC is changing this reality by building and strengthening community visitation programs that are dedicated to ending the isolation and abuse of men and women in immigration detention. Visitation programs connect persons in civil immigration detention with community members. These volunteer visitors provide immigrants in detention with a link to the outside world, while also preventing human rights abuses by creating a community presence in otherwise invisible detention facilities.

CIVIC recently released A Guide to Touring U.S. Immigration Detention Facilities & Building Alliances, designed for communities across the country hoping to start a visitation program using ICE’s new Visitation Directive.

The benefit of this resource is that the general guidelines are tailored to the unique request of using the Visitation Directive as a tool to establish contact and set up a permanent visitation program. In addition, this manual provides an overview of some of the successes and roadblocks visitation programs have encountered in the first year of the Visitation Directive’s existence.

CIVIC is setting in motion a national movement to combat the isolating experience of immigration detention. To get involved or for more information, please visit their website at www.endisolation.org.

Also please visit this blog with a lot of information about immigration detention, made to make people aware of immigrant detention and visiting people inside these prisons: Detentiondialogues.blogspot.com

The Visitation Manual/Directive can be found here (PDF).

Here is a YouTube about CIVIC and visiting:

Immigrants Are Not For Sale

Please Sign the petition of My Cuentame:

The short video is on the Correction Corporation of America & the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and their attempt to open the country’s largest private immigration detention facility in south Florida.

The video features south Floridians voicing their criticism both against CCA’s/ICE’s facility and against the phenomena of private immigration detention centers/prisons. The petition asks Rep. Debbie Wasserman to stand with her constituents and “say no to CCA.”

IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT FOR SALE

We call on Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-20) to WITHDRAW her current endorsements for CCA’s project.

The Obama Administration announced a change in the priorities for detentions and deportations, to focus on real national security concerns, not on separating parents from their children or deporting DREAMers who are only seeking a better future.

It is time for ICE to stop the immigrant money making machine and tell CCA to GO AWAY from Southwest Ranches.

SIGN PETITION and tell REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ To Say NO to CCA!

Plz Sign: Immigrants Are Not For Sale

Please Sign the petition of My Cuentame:

The short video is on the Correction Corporation of America & the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and their attempt to open the country’s largest private immigration detention facility in south Florida.

The video features south Floridians voicing their criticism both against CCA’s/ICE’s facility and against the phenomena of private immigration detention centers/prisons. The petition asks Rep. Debbie Wasserman to stand with her constituents and “say no to CCA.”

IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT FOR SALE

We call on Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-20) to WITHDRAW her current endorsements for CCA’s project.

The Obama Administration announced a change in the priorities for detentions and deportations, to focus on real national security concerns, not on separating parents from their children or deporting DREAMers who are only seeking a better future.

It is time for ICE to stop the immigrant money making machine and tell CCA to GO AWAY from Southwest Ranches.

SIGN PETITION and tell REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ To Say NO to CCA!

Illinois, USA: Marchers on 3-day, 31-mile walk to protest immigration prison

Via The Real Cost of Prisons Blog:

Marchers on 3-day, 31-mile walk to protest immigration prison
By Lauren FitzPatrick
Sun-Times Media
http://www.suntimes.com/news/11638904-418/marchers-on-3-day-31-mile-walk-to-protest-immigration-prison.html
April 1, 2012 2:32AM

Manning a megaphone, Angela Marrufo led the chanting.

“What do we want?” the 8-year-old shouted in English and Spanish to the dozens who followed down Western Avenue from 111th Street to about 123rd. “When do we want it?”

“Justice,” the protesters answered. And “now,” they said.

Marrufo, with her mom, were among the group of 40 people walking from the South Side to Chicago Heights Saturday in protest of a proposed new federal immigration detention center. Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) wants to build in south suburban Crete the prison that would hold some 700-800 immigrants being deported.

In eye-grabbing neon green T-shirts, the group covered about 20 miles of the 31-mile, three-day trek, on foot, aiming to arrive Sunday in Crete, where the mayor supports the prison as economic development for his town.

Some Crete residents have complained of a lack of transparency in the planning process, however. And last week, the Illinois Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation specifically to prevent a private company from building the detention centers.

“We are going to stop this jail,” asserted the Rev. Jose Landaverde of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Little Village, one of the march organizers. “Instead of building prisons, they should be building schools.”

On Friday, the protesters had walked 7½ miles from Little Village to 81st and California, sleeping at St. Thomas More parish. Saturday, they headed south on Western, following the same stretch through Beverly that the South Side Irish parade takes, and through the historic swath of downtown Blue Island. That’s where bartender Michael P. Kennedy stuck his head of out of a bar to shout, “Border patrol! Border patrol!”

Kennedy said his son is a border agent in San Diego and said he’s frustrated about illegal immigrants breaching national borders and believes in consequences for breaking laws.
http://www.suntimes.com/news/11638904-418/marchers-on-3-day-31-mile-walk-to-protest-immigration-prison.html

Hunger strikes in Louisiana detention facilities protest ICE Haitian deportation policy:

Earlier this month, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security announced its intent to continue deporting Haitian nationals. The Center for Constitutional Rights reports that the decision has spurred a new series of hunger strikes in Louisiana detention facilities in protest of the policy. Human rights groups have decried the decision, pointing out that in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, deportation to the country’s perilous detention facilities can be equivalent to a death sentence.

An earlier round of deportations following a January hunger strike in a Louisiana facility resulted in the death of 34-year old Wildrick Guerrier while in Haitian custody. Mr. Guerrier, who was suffering from cholera-like symptoms, died after being denied medical care by prison guards who told him, “you were sent here to die.”

In an April 1st press release, ICE states that the decision to resume deportations was made to ensure the safety of U.S. communities and would only involve people who posed a “significant threat to the American public.” However, the January deportations of 27 Haitian nationals that led to the death of Mr. Gurrier included people with low-level convictions. All of the individuals being detained in Louisiana today have already served their criminal sentences or had such minor convictions they were never sentenced to time in jail.

(this article is excerpted primarily from reporting by the Center for Constitutional Rights)

Reactions to Hutto sexual abuse scandal

On DemocracyNow.org news we  heard on June 3rd this short newsitem:

And a prison guard at a privately run Texas immigration jail has been fired for allegedly sexually assaulting several women prisoners. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the guard groped several women and forced at least one woman to have sex with him while transporting them to their deportation flights. ICE says the company hired to run the prison, Corrections Corporation of American, is on probation pending the outcome of a probe into the allegations.

So we searched for information and found this:

From Texas Bid´ness Blog:


Several civil and immigrant rights organizations have issued condemnations of the reported sexual abuse of female detainees at Corrections Corporation of America’s T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas.  The ACLU of Texas issued a statement that included the following:

“The continued occurrence of sexual assault in immigration detention facilities demonstrates the need for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to move more aggressively in implementing reforms like improving detention standards, strengthening federal oversight of private providers like GEO and CCA, or better yet, eliminating the use of contract providers altogether,” said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas.

In recent years guards have been accused of assaults of women at a number of immigrant detention facilities in Texas. Also at Hutto, another CCA guard was fired in May 2007 after he was discovered having sex with a detainee in her cell. In 2008, a guard employed by another private prison provider, GEO, at the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall reportedly impregnated at least one detainee. Most recently, in April 2010, a guard at the Port Isabel Detention Facility in Los Fresnos, Texas was sentenced to three years in prison for sexually assaulting female detainees being kept in medical isolation.

The National Immigrant Justice Center of the Heartland Alliance also issued a statement that included this passage:

“How many more lives are ICE and President Obama willing to put at risk before taking meaningful steps to end human rights abuses in the immigration detention system?” responded Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center. “Women – we do not even know how many – have now suffered the trauma of sexual assault because of the failure of ICE leadership to respect the human dignity of those in its custody and implement meaningful reform.”

And Grassroots Leadership, my organization, issued a statement (PDF) today that included this,

“These reports show the vulnerability of detained immigrants, especially women, in ICE’s vast and largely private immigrant detention system,” said Donna Red Wing, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership.  “ICE should immediately re-evaluate its contracts with all private prison corporations, and speed the pace of reforms to its system.  We are gravely concerned about the reality of women incarcerated for-profit and the impact of these closed corporate facilities on the lives, health and well being of women detainees.”
ICE’s release of information about the reported abuse before a holiday weekend also drew criticism.  “ICE has touted its move towards transparency and accountability,” Libal said. “Releasing this report on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend and just hours after meeting with senior administration officials and key detention advocates at the White House is anything but transparent and accountable.”

We’ll keep you posted on what is sure to be an ongoing story in the fallout of this scandal.

Here another article about this:
http://texascivilrightsreview.org/phpnuke/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1415

ACLU objects to Request by ICE to be dropped from Lawsuit over Death of Immigrant Detainee

This comes from the ACLU:

MARCH 3, 2010

The Rhode Island ACLU objected today to attempts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be dropped from the federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of the family of a detainee who died while in the custody of immigration officials at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls. Hiu Lui “Jason” Ng, the 34-year-old Chinese detainee, died in August 2008 after complaining for months to prison officials about being in excruciating pain. Guards and medical personnel at Wyatt continually accused Ng of faking his illness and denied him medical care, and he was only diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and a broken spine less than a week before he died.

The lawsuit claims that ICE had legal custody over Ng and knew of violations of his constitutional and statutory rights but did not act to stop them. In a hearing on Wednesday, the lawyer for ICE argued that the federal agency cannot be held responsible for the way corrections officers, medical staff and prison officials at the Wyatt treated Ng because ICE had contracted out the work to the Wyatt and so it was their responsibility to provide care for Ng.

For Complete Article click Here