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.