2008-12-31 / Letters

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:

Detainees unhappy with treatment at ICE unit

Editor,

We want to bring to your attention some of the things that are going on in these walls. This is just a tiny piece of what the administration of this place is doing to us. Officers are trying to make us as miserable as possible. They are calling us very offensive names, constantly reminding us that we are nobodies and have no rights. If somebody makes a reasonable complaint to ICE within these walls, the correction officers come and change your housing unit. So a lot of people are scared to write complaints because they got used to people and don't want to change their dorms. We don't even understand why they are in correction's uniform, they are supposed to be security officers, we are not inmates or criminals to them, we are detainees. Very often when we leave to chow hall or outside officers come and do shakedowns without detainees' presence. After these shakedowns people are missing their stuff, such as religion items, towels, sheets (we are not talking about extra stuff that we are not allowed to have) and sometimes even commissary items. We always find our clean sheets, towels, t-shirts and underwear on the floor.

The temperature in the unit is very cold and because of that people are constantly getting sick. Officers make these people get up and go outside saying that if somebody stays inside nobody gets out. Sick people are supposed to lay in their beds and get better, but they go outside because they know that other people want to see sunlight and breathe some fresh air for that one hour a day we're supposed to have. Sometimes we don't go out for weeks. We don't have any windows, so we don't see the sunlight. Being locked up inside for days and not see daylight gets to people and drives even a strong person crazy.

The food that we get is not enough and we don't get the nutrition that we need. People always stay hungry and lose weight and face color. If you want to investigate you can check the medical record with health department and you will see the difference in people's weight when they came and how much they weigh right now. People who came and lived all their lives in U.S. legally are trying to fight their cases. The court procedure takes up to a year just to see a judge for the merits hearing. Some people can't take this embarrassment and the way they are being kept in here and sing deportation, leaving their families and kids behind just to get out from here. There are a lot of things that make people devastated, but we don't even want to write about that. We want somebody to know and help us about how people are getting treated in this place. We are not animals, we're human beings and we don't understand why these people try everything to make us feel like animals, curse at us the way they want to, knowing that we can't say anything back. We just want somebody to hear us and help people who are detained in these walls, please.

- A# 088-426-610 Igor Zavernigen, A# 070-435-146 Manuel P. Cavazos, A# 200-045- 157 Juan Martinez Ramirez, A# 071-365-468 I. Pazmit, 044-657- 854 Ruben Ventura, 073-759-897 Luis Garcia, A # 099-531-215 Carlos G., 074-130-933 Jorge Poron, 039-747-558, 086-912- 435, Winston, 071-368-426, 076- 969-893, 038-503-712 Humberto Rodriguez, 044-461-862 Oscar F. Castillo Barbosa, 088-745-328 Kideson Bush Yosephin, 036-740- 673 Rolando Jimenez, 071-313- 447 Emin Khudzhatou, 097-312- 138 Genaro Manzanares N-3-28, Benjamin E.

- - - Dear Mr. Zavernigen,

I am addressing my reply to you because your name is listed first among the 23 names on your list. In your letter you state that "people who came and lived all their lives in (the) U.S. legally are trying to fight their cases."

Correct me if I am misinformed, but I have been led to believe that the ICE unit was specifically built to house individuals who are citizens of other countries and who are in this country illegally without the permission of our country to be here.

No one who is incarcerated should ever be abused by the officers or guards who oversee their detention but I have read letters of complaint from county jail inmates for many years and they are not always completely truthful.

Basically your complaints boil down to the fact that the temperature in your unit is colder than you would like for it to be; that officers go through your belongings looking for items that you are not allowed to have, that you don't get outside enough and that you don't care for the food you are served.

Has it occurred to you that you do not have to be here? It is my understanding that you have the key to the door. All you need to do is to sign a "voluntary repatriation agreement" and our government will glady transfer you back to your own country. In your case, I understand that would be Russia.

If I were standing in your shoes that is certainly what I would do.

The Editor

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