On June 10th, a letter was published on NBC News, provided by Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. The letter is in regard to the treatment detainees are receiving at La Palma Correctional Center in Arizona, which CoreCivic oversees. 70 asylum seeking migrant detainees signed the report that they have been forced to clean coronavirus (COVID19) infected areas and go into detail about other unfair treatments. The Florence Project is a 501©(3) nonprofit which provides legal and social services to adults and unaccompanied children in immigration custody in Arizona.
The letter includes, “We the detainees make the public complaint of physical and psychological abuses, human rights abuses, prolonged detentions, abuses of power, and bad nutrition.” There are 26 specific complaints listed in the letter. One item mentions the expired ham being fed to them on Monday, May 4, 2020. Another item explains unfair treatment of cleaning COVID19 infected medical rooms and guards not wearing proper PPE to ensure the safety and protection of the detainees. In addition, migrants with underage children have not been able to communication with them in over 8 months, the letter explains. We reached out to one of the ICE spokespersons but since this is an ongoing lawsuit, no further information was provided. We asked about the status of the reports made against ICE or solutions they are providing but no further comments were made.
Statement from ICE spokesperson
The Florence Project has teamed up with ACLU, ACLU of Arizona and Perkins Coie LLP. to file a lawsuit against ICE for the release of detained immigrants who pose risk of coronavirus (COVID19). The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, June 10th. This is the second lawsuit – the previous lawsuit was filed in April. The groups are concerned that the government continues to detain people amid a pandemic. With the lawsuit they aim to advocate to release their most vulnerable clients. Updates will be provided as new information comes along.