ICE and the private prison industrial complex that runs our ethnic cleansing facilities are committing crimes against humanity.
A representative of ICE has just told me that 89% of detainees at for-profit prison ICA Farmville (Virginia) have COVID-19
— Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) August 21, 2020
89%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is Tuskegee Experiment level herd immunity experimentation on unwitting and unwilling participants.
Hundreds of detainees have also been subject to food unfit for human consumption. In 2015, for instance, some complained after finding a number of white worms in their meals. ICA Farmville retaliated by threatening them with “severe” and “swift” consequences if they continued in actions that “degraded the reputation” of the facility, including threatening them that any complaints would negatively impact their immigration cases. ICA Farmville’s treatment of those in its custody was so poor that it appears to have shocked even ICE, not an organization known for its rigid defense of human rights; the documents showing that they considered ICA Farmville’s actions “chilling” and “beyond the pale.”
Clearly, it’s worth noting that this is not simply a monster of the Trump administration. The Obama administration really did not do nearly enough on these issues, in part because of Obama’s quixotic belief that if he was tough on undocumented immigration, Republicans would come to an agreement on an immigration bill. You can’t bargain with fascists, as he never quite learned.
But for Trump and Herr Miller, the combo of COVID and prison is good for some laughs.
The documents come amid a rampant coronavirus outbreak at the prison. With 247 currently infected, nearly 90 percent of the prison population at ICA has tested positive for COVID-19, accounting for around a quarter of all current detainee positive cases across the entire nationwide ICE prison network. In April, MintPress reported on a hunger strike involving around 100 detainees at Farmville who were demanding their release on medical and humane grounds, fearing an outbreak. The strike was broken after threats of retaliation, including solitary confinement, but those protesting have been vindicated, their fears realized. Bolotas said that throughout ICA’s history there has been a “pattern” of abuse:
Whenever anybody inside speaks up about the conditions they are met with retaliation and threats to their immigration proceedings and their immigration cases. ICA is really careful about its brand image because it is trying to build more detention centers, especially in places where local economies have been depressed. So they sell themselves [incorrectly] as a company with humane conditions.”
Even as the country went into lockdown and the government was advising people not to travel, ICE was transferring detainees from Arizona and Florida to Farmville, resulting in an explosion in the number of cases. It was also deporting coronavirus-positive immigrants back to their home countries, overwhelming their response systems. The Minister for Health for Guatemala, for example, noted that 75 percent of deportees on one flight arrived with COVID-19.
Send these people to the Hague. Also, ban private prisons. And abolish ICE. We have a lot of work to do. It will take our whole lives to fix this.