Thursday, April 23, 2009

Press Release: Port Isabel Detention Center Detainees Engaged in Non-Violent Hunger Strike

April 22, 2009
Contact: Elizabeth Garcia (TX) 956-459-3205
Manisha Vaze (NY) 917-748-0938

For Immediate Release – Developing Story

Port Isabel Detention Center Detainees Engaged in Non-Violent Hunger Strike
Organizations in Texas and New York stand in solidarity with protesters!

Los Fresnos, TX: Today, 200 detainees at the Port Isabel Detention Center (PIDC) began a passive resistance movement with an organized hunger strike to protest physical and verbal mistreatment they face at the facility. Over the last few months, inmates have made many complaints to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and facility operators Ahtna Technical Services Incorporated (ATSI), but the continued deplorable conditions has pushed detainees to engage in non-violent protest.

Detainees have stated that they face violations to their due process rights, do not receive adequate medical attention, and have experienced physical and verbal abuse from ICE and ATSI officers.

Organizations in Texas and New York are standing in solidarity with protesters, as many have received complaints from detainees and family members about conditions at PIDC since early this year. “We've heard of detainees being denied food, beaten and shackled as retaliation for speaking up about inadequate conditions. Many of the detainees are legal permanent residents from northeastern cities [and] they've been shipped to this desolate prison away from any kind of family and community support. ATSI staff is being very brazen in their lawlessness. I think there's a perception that no one will speak up in defense of immigrants. It all seems designed to break down the will of the detainees so that they will agree to being deported,” remarked Maria Muentes, an organizer from Families for Freedom in New York City.

Mark Bevans, whose brother is being detained there, said, “My brother was physically abused there and was refused medical care until his consulate was notified and advocated for him to receive the attention he needed. He is from New York, and they took him away from all his resources. They are not giving him a fighting chance to get out by putting him all the way down there. It’s hard.”

Catherine Yee, a loved one of a detainee, said, "The point of this hunger strike is to let the media and the community know that the detainees' rights are really being violated. My boyfriend has been there for over 180 days and they cannot deport him since the country where he was born does not recognize him as their national. He is thousands of miles away from his home and attorney in Boston, and he is not getting medical care."

Organizers and family members of the Coalition of Amigos in Solidarity and Action, the Southwest Worker’s Union, and Families for Freedom stand in solidarity with detainees at the facility and their families and further demand full and proper investigations into the alleged human and civil rights abuses detainees are currently facing and accountability from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Ahtna Technical Services Incorporated for their ongoing inability to resolve this issue.

###

Manisha Vaze
Organizer
Families for Freedom
3 W 29th St. #1030
New York, NY 10001
ph: (646) 290-5551
fax: (800) 895-4454
http://www.familiesforfreedom.org/

2 comments:

rustam said...

if you or your relative ended up in this absolutely horrable place, i feel very and very sorry you.
Because i spent there 9 months of my life to get my asylum status. Security guards and ICE officers will mistreat and abuse you the way they mistreated and abused me. For example: ICE officer H. Benavides told me that he will talk to the Immigration Judge and tell him to deport me back to my country of origin where i was tortured. He also ordered to put shackles on me, (they made sure that shackles sit very tight on my feet, ) and walked me through the field full of palm size tarantulas back and forth untill my feet started bleeding and my white socks became red. (Still have the pictures of them).

L. Rodriguez, female ICE officer, also constantly refused me my due process, phone calls, copies, and even walks out.

Field Director Michael Watkins didnt do anything at all, instead when my ex-wife called him and asked him to stop torturing me, he told her that they will not stop doing so untill i will start cooperate. And what this "cooperation " means? It means that i should have stopped submitting complaints to the DHS Office of Inspector General in Washington DC.

I had an ear infection for 1 month and i couldnt sleep because of severe pain. I was asking every single day ICE and securities to take me to the medical facility which was 3 minutes walking distance but i never was taken there. DHS of Washington DC sent there investigation about this fact.
I ended up with raptured ear.

They denied me food. Often they gave us only 2-3 minutes to eat. Often they locked me up for several hours or overnight in cold concrete cells to punish me for my complaints.
They called me "Russia" because of my origin. Most of them are Hyspanics who dont even speak proper English.

Now, after i finally got my political asylum i cant work because i developed eating disorder, anxiety disorder and panic attacks for wich there is no cure. Constant imbalance of serotonin. (I should say that the Psychiatrist PHD Dr. John Golden is an awsome Person who patiantly listened to my compliants and treated me very and very good). Even prescribed me additional sandvich for my constant hunger in that facility.
Also the chaplain, Mr. Ed. Matthews is a super cool Person. I am grateful to the security guard Mr. Juan Escamilla for his efforts to provide me with computer access and making copies.

About computer access and law library: Ran by a corrupted guy by last name Villafranco.

There were 4 computers in the tiny law library 2 of wich didnt work. Villafranco had 2 detainees working for him. One from Mexico another from Honduras, both ex-convicts in orange uniform who were occupying 2 computers all days long, allegedly to help other detainees to prepare legal forms. In reality, they were making money, by charging those detainees 50-300$ for a petition or immigration form, since most of those detainees didnt speak or write in english.
When on one Wednesday was my turn to go to the law library (i was in blue uniform, "Bravo" unit.), I sat on one available computer to start working on my declaration. However, both detainees-exconvicts working there for Villafranco started picking up the fight. I told them that it is a day when detainees in blue uniform use the library, however, the recreation officer short and fat Villafranco came to me from the behind and told me to give the computer to the ex-convict detainee in ornage uniform, who was previously convicted in the US for forfeiting money. Why would that corrupted Villafranco give him my place and time? Well, perhaps because they shared the money.

Now i regret that i ever came to the USA and applied for bloody asylum. I am mentally disabled with no right for SSI.

Anonymous said...

if you or your relative ended up in this absolutely horrable place, i feel very and very sorry you.
Because i spent there 9 months of my life to get my asylum status. Security guards and ICE officers will mistreat and abuse you the way they mistreated and abused me. For example: ICE officer H. Benavides told me that he will talk to the Immigration Judge and tell him to deport me back to my country of origin where i was tortured. He also ordered to put shackles on me, (they made sure that shackles sit very tight on my feet, ) and walked me through the field full of palm size tarantulas back and forth untill my feet started bleeding and my white socks became red. (Still have the pictures of them).

L. Rodriguez, female ICE officer, also constantly refused me my due process, phone calls, copies, and even walks out.

Field Director Michael Watkins didnt do anything at all, instead when my ex-wife called him and asked him to stop torturing me, he told her that they will not stop doing so untill i will start cooperate. And what this "cooperation " means? It means that i should have stopped submitting complaints to the DHS Office of Inspector General in Washington DC.

I had an ear infection for 1 month and i couldnt sleep because of severe pain. I was asking every single day ICE and securities to take me to the medical facility which was 3 minutes walking distance but i never was taken there. DHS of Washington DC sent there investigation about this fact.
I ended up with raptured ear.

They denied me food. Often they gave us only 2-3 minutes to eat. Often they locked me up for several hours or overnight in cold concrete cells to punish me for my complaints.
They called me "Russia" because of my origin. Most of them are Hyspanics who dont even speak proper English.

Now, after i finally got my political asylum i cant work because i developed eating disorder, anxiety disorder and panic attacks for wich there is no cure. Constant imbalance of serotonin. (I should say that the Psychiatrist PHD Dr. John Golden is an awsome Person who patiantly listened to my compliants and treated me very and very good). Even prescribed me additional sandvich for my constant hunger in that facility.
Also the chaplain, Mr. Ed. Matthews is a super cool Person. I am grateful to the security guard Mr. Juan Escamilla for his efforts to provide me with computer access and making copies.

About computer access and law library: Ran by a corrupted guy by last name Villafranco.

There were 4 computers in the tiny law library 2 of wich didnt work. Villafranco had 2 detainees working for him. One from Mexico another from Honduras, both ex-convicts in orange uniform who were occupying 2 computers all days long, allegedly to help other detainees to prepare legal forms. In reality, they were making money, by charging those detainees 50-300$ for a petition or immigration form, since most of those detainees didnt speak or write in english.
When on one Wednesday was my turn to go to the law library (i was in blue uniform, "Bravo" unit.), I sat on one available computer to start working on my declaration. However, both detainees-exconvicts working there for Villafranco started picking up the fight. I told them that it is a day when detainees in blue uniform use the library, however, the recreation officer short and fat Villafranco came to me from the behind and told me to give the computer to the ex-convict detainee in ornage uniform, who was previously convicted in the US for forfeiting money. Why would that corrupted Villafranco give him my place and time? Well, perhaps because they shared the money.

Now i regret that i ever came to the USA and applied for bloody asylum. I am mentally disabled with no right for SSI.