RAYMONDVILLE, TEXAS: Reports are filtering out from the Willacy County detention center in Raymondville that the 2,000 detained immigrants waiting for deportation are suffering in such bad conditions that one detainee has tried to commit suicide.
Willacy County detention center
Rio Grande Valley television station KGBT4 reports that they have received internal documentation outlining how security guards at the immigrant detention facility have reported that 50 detainees have reported rotten food and finding maggots in their food.
Detainees are also cited as complaining about not being given enough toiletries to take care of their personal needs. There are also problems with the air conditioning system that has caused fainting by some of the women detainees.
Willacy County Detention Warden Orlando Perez
An immigration lawyer visiting a client in the facility said that things are so bad within the detention facility that he witnessed people eating with their hands.
It was reported that one immigrant detainee had become so depressed over his living conditions that he tried to commit suicide.
Security guards have gone on record saying that they have reported their observations to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who are charged with overseeing all the immigrant detention facilities in the country.
ICE officials have only said they will look into the allegations.
The Willacy County detention center is not the only immigrant detention facility to report such human rights violations and abuses. Other facilities across the country have also been the subject of such complaints with even the rape of a woman detainee being reported.
These reports that keep surfacing on a continual basis are extremely troubling given the fact that the Senate just approved an additional $3 billion to a Homeland Security spending bill. Part of that increase would be used to double the detention space for undocumented immigrants to 45,000 beds.
Though ICE insists that the people confined within these centers are detainees and not prisoners, the attitude and policies ICE has in place regarding these people would suggest otherwise.
Also, ICE’s uncooperative behavior in allowing the detainees outside contact, under the guise of protecting the detainees’ privacy, would suggest that these detention centers are more align with prison camps than a place to hold people who have not been charged with any crimes.
The most telling sign that ICE is less than forthcoming about the condition of these detainees, of whom women and children are among the population, was ICE’s blatant refusal to allow Jorge Bustamante, investigator from the United Nations sent to inspect the facilities and report back to the UN General Assembly, entrance into the facilities or talk to any of the detainees.
The Department of Homeland Security, the parent department over ICE, and in turn, representative of the US Government, amplifies the double standard this government is operating under.
If such a refusal to an UN investigator would be committed by another country, the US government would be one of the first to condemn the action. Yet, there was little attention, and no follow-up, paid to the brush-off to the UN’s emissary when it happened on this soil.
When it is considered that the UN must be the international entity to protect the rights of immigrants everywhere, it is extremely troubling that the United States would not comply.
With this latest news, the mainstream media of this country, with all their talk of being the voice of a democracy, can either choose to champion the rights of these detained immigrants and report on the conditions they are being subjected to, or they can turn their heads from real journalism towards those stories deemed newsworthy today like calculating the due date for Nicole Richie’s baby.
It’s up to the media to either take back this democracy or stand by and look the other way.