Tuesday, June 9, 2009

El Corralon

Modern Concentration Camp

On April 22, 2009, CASA members were contacted by "Families for Freedom" (FFF)an organization in New York, requesting local support to accompany immigrants from NY that were sent to PIDC. Family member reported abuses to their love ones at this detention center to Families for Freedom and they in turn look for groups that could provide some local support.

CASA and SWU got immediately involve in this issue, and set out to visit names of people that FFF provided to us. Thru FFF we also learned that detainees were engage in a non violent hunger strike that they were holding inside the detention center, protesting human rights violations such as lack verbal and physical abuse, lack of proper medical attention to those who needed it, improper diet for those with health problems, lack of due process, etc. The first time we visited the center, around 200 detainees were participating in the hunger strike, and we met with Rama Carty, one of the hunger strike organizer, and probably the most vocal one.

Since then, SWU and CASA have being visiting detainees at this center almost every weekend (visitation days) and have learned that some of the detainees are legal residents that committed an infraction such as DWI, and for this reason are now facing deportation after living legally in the US some of them for more than 20 years. Many of them are African descendent, are well educated, had stable jobs, and are being treated as criminals without proper legal representation.

Last week, on Tuesday June 2nd. Amnesty International (AI)toured the center, and spoke with Rama, as a result, Rama was verbally and physically abused and suddenly transfer the following day to another detention center located in Louisiana. Some detainees who witness the Rama’s beaten by the guards, stated that the guards physically assaulted Rama and told him that he was a fool thinking AI will ever help him.

His transfer seems like a retaliation for denouncing human rights violations at El Corralon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tent City, Located in Raymondville, TX

Vigil at Tent City

Thank you every one who made our vigil possible. It was a fantastic event. We were not a big crowd, maybe about a 100 of us, some people came form San Antonio, some from Austin, the media gave us coverage, a couple of front page stories, I think it was very good. I was most grateful to be surrounded by people so passionate about this issue, and the fact that there were so many young, some elderly, children. Our Non-Violent, direct action vigil, was really nice, and I thank everyone of you who help with the planning of this event.

Friday, June 22, 2007

From Rio Grande Guardian

Activist starts blog to highlight plight of immigrants in 'Tent City' Raymondville
By Staff
Elizabeth Garcia
RAYMONDVILLE - A Brownsville activist has set up a blog to highlight the plight of El Salvadorian detainees in Tent City Raymondville ahead of Sunday’s caravan trip to the compound.
“Tent City Raymondville is the largest immigration detention center in the United States and the detainees being housed there are not being treated humanely,” said Elizabeth Garcia, a member of the Pax Christi grassroots organization in Brownsville.
“The detainees, most of them from El Salvador, are being treated like criminals. They are locked up for 22 hours a day and are only allowed outside for an hour a day. It is inhumane.”
Garcia’s blog can be found at http://tentcityinraymondville.blogspot.com/. She said she plans to keep people from around the world informed with what is happening at the Raymondville facility, though she acknowledges it will not be easy.
“There is no transparency. We are not being given any information. The authorities will not tell us what is going on. That is why we are holding the protest and vigil on Sunday. We have to raise awareness of the plight,” Garcia said.
Garcia said she does not condone illegal immigration but argues there has to be a more humane way of handling those detained.
The $65 million Raymondville facility, sandwiched between a federal prison and a county jail, is called Tent City because it comprises ten huge tents on concrete pads. Each tent holds around 200 people.
Built last summer, the facility is surrounded by a 14-foot-high chain-link fence looped with barbed wire. It houses around 2,000 detainees, around 85 percent of whom are from El Salvador.
Like the nearby detention center in Bayview, which predominantly houses Mexican immigrants, Tent City Raymondville is administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE contracts with private prison management companies in both cases. Corrections Corporation of America handles the Bayview facility and Management & Training Corporation looks after Tent City Raymondville.
The one civil rights attorney that was being allowed into the Raymondville compound to see her clients - at least until recently - was Harlingen-based Jodi Goodwin. Goodwin has said she is concerned about detainees getting decent medical attention and food.
“Jodi Goodwin has done an excellent job of shining the spotlight on Tent City. The immigrants cannot speak for themselves, so it is left to the rest of us to raise awareness and give them a voice,” Garcia said.
Garcia said thus far the local media has done a lousy job of letting the people of the Rio Grande Valley about Tent City and the treatment handed out to its detainees. “I find out a lot more by checking the New York Times or the Washington Post,” she said.
Garcia said she hopes all that will change with her blog and Sunday’s caravan. Among the groups taking part in the caravan are People for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, MEChA, Student Farmworker Alliance, La Union Del Pueblo Entero, Pax Christi, Holy Spirit Peace and Justice Committee, Mennonite Central Committee, UTPA Environmental Awareness Club, Foro Socialista del Valle, Proyecto Libertad, Comunidades Eclesiales de Base de San Felipe de Jesus Church, Iglesia Mennonita Rey de Gloria, Iglesia Methodista de Brownsville, Students for Change and Peace-UTB, Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos, Christian Peacemakers Team, El Tribuno Newspaper, Mens Resource Center.
Those participating from the lower Valley are asked to meet at FM 802 and Paredes Lane in Brownsville at 3:30pm. Those coming from the upper Valley are asked to assemble at the LUPE offices, off of Business 83 and Cesar Chavez, in San Juan, also at 3.30 p.m. Both groups will meet in Harlingen before proceeding together to Raymondville. The protest and vigil will run from 6 to 8 p.m.
“This is the first time protestors from lower Valley and the upper Valley have come together in this way. We really are building a broad coalition,” said upper Valley caravan organizer Jennifer Bryson-Clark. “Many of the activists from the upper Valley are young students in their early and mid-20s so there is so much energy. We want to keep that momentum going.”
Bryson-Clark said she was expecting around 50 to 100 protestors from the upper Valley to join the caravan. She said that number would be much higher but for the fact that many LUPE members are afraid of being detained.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tent City, Located in Raymondville, TX

Raymondville is about an hour North from the border town of Brownsville, TX. Raymondville is a small town with a population of about 10, 000. The small town houses the $65 million futuristic "Tent City", the largest immigration detention center in the US. Some sources show that approximately two thousand undocumented immigrants are currently being held in the tent city, awaiting deportation, in a windowless tents where they are locked for 23hrs/day

The immigration camp facility was built last summer, to keep up with the increasing detention of undocumented immigrants, it has being described by the Washington Post as a “futuristic tent city...made of Kevlar-like material” without windows and ringed by barbed wire. The facility is located next to a State and Federal Prison, keeping the undocumented immigrants as criminals.