Tuesday, February 03, 2009

URGENT ACTION: Call for Just Treatment and Accountability in Reeves Detention Facility; Support Immigrant Detainees' Rights

Urgent Action Request – Call & Fax to Support Prisoners Rights & Demands


Detainees Take Action Protesting Inhumane Conditions in Pecos, Texas Immigrant Detention Center


Immigrants awaiting deportation who are being held in a private jail run by the GEO Group began a protest last Saturday, January 31. The protest began after a group of immigrant prisoners attempted to meet with the detention facility’s authorities, demanding that a gravely ill detainee be released from solitary confinement and be taken immediately to a hospital. The prison authorities refused to listen and did not take action. The detainees responded by protesting after being ignored. Read more on the immigrant prisoners protest below, after action request.


DEMAND (see talking points below)

Humane Conditions and Treatment

Independent Access

Emergency Medical Care and Accountability


·        The media, legal observers or lawyers and family members are not being allowed to see what has happened.

·        Demand accountability from the GEO Group and the Reeves County Sheriff; they must be pressured to dramatically improve the conditions, provide medical care and attention to all inmates and be held accountable for the deplorable conditions and treatment they have given immigrant prisoners.


Call and fax -- Demand accountability and safe treatment for the inmates! (see talking points below)


* The Reeves County Detention Center:

Tel (432) 447-2926 Fax (432) 447-9224


* Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties – U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

Toll Free (866) 644-8360  [(202) 401-1474] Fax (202) 357-8298

Timothy.keefer@dhs.gov and civil.liberties@dhs.gov


Office of Inspector General, DHS:

Fax (202) 254-4285


Office of Professional Responsibility, DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

Tel (877) 246-8253 Fax (202) 344-3390


ICE Office of Investigations Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Offices

Tel (703) 285-6709 Fax (703) 285-6700



Please call or send an email message to lrivas@nnirr.org or agarcia@nnirr.org after you have made a call or sent a fax. Please share a copy of your communications and any response you may receive.

(510) 465-1984 ext. 304 and ext. 305




1. Investigate immigrant prisoner deaths and other brutal treatment being committed by guards and other local authorities at the Reeves County Detention Complex reported by detainees and their families.


Immigrant prison eyewitnesses have reported that in the last five months at least five prisoners have died in their cells and have been removed.


Independent media, legal observers and immigrant and human rights organizations must be allowed to meet and interview detainees and others to determine the changes needed to uphold the immigrant detainees’ rights.


The Office of Inspector General and other responsible authorities must investigate the abuses and bring those responsible for the brutal treatment to justice.


2. Inmates are demanding medical care for all detainees, especially for those who need special treatment, such as diabetes and others who are in dire need due to negligence and/or no treatment.


Demand that the GEO group guards and warden stop punishing immigrants needing medical attention. Prisoners report that when prisoners ask for medical attention they are punished and put in solitary confinement.


Prisoners are demanding immediate transfer out of this facility because the prison is overcrowded and uninhabitable due to these deplorable conditions.


3. No retaliation against prisoners who report or complain about the conditions. When inmates complain they are immediately punished by sticking them in the “hole” – solitary confinement.


Prisoners are punished for complaining about the poor food provided and the lack of sanitary conditions (rat and cockroach/insect infestation) in the cafeteria, hallways and cells.


4. Provide adequate and healthy food; provide heating and adequate clothing, bedding and other amenities immediately.


Prisoners are being forced to eat rotten food; the prisoners that prepare the food complain that the kitchen is infested with cockroaches and they have to cook the food under these unsanitary conditions.




Immigrants awaiting deportation who are being held in a private jail run by the GEO Group began a protest last Saturday, January 31. The protest began after a group of immigrant prisoners attempted to meet with the detention facility’s authorities, demanding that a gravely ill detainee be released from solitary confinement and be taken immediately to a hospital. The prison authorities refused to listen and did not take action. The detainees responded by protesting after being ignored.


After the inmates continued to raise their complaints to the guards and the warden about the treatment and deplorable conditions they were being subjected to in the “Reeves County Detention Facility” in Pecos, Texas, the detainees began a spontaneous protest. The prison authorities literally laughed at the immigrant detainees’ demands and told the prisoners that they had complete power over them and could do whatever they pleased.


After the detainees began a spontaneous protest, a melee ensued. A fire broke out during the protest and guards immediately left the premises, locking in the prisoners behind. Some prisoners broke windows to get to other detainees who were choking and fainting, overcome by the smoke.


Then the guards got into SWAT vehicles (or some type of armored vehicle described as a “tortuga,” a turtle, by an inmate) and began firing teargas and rubber bullets at the prisoners who had been abandoned in the facility that was on fire.


Afterwards, the prison guards forced the immigrant inmates to stay outdoors in the prison facility yard on Saturday night. Since then, they have only been fed once a day; they have little or no water and have only three restroom facilities for almost 3,000 prisoners.


Last night the prison authorities said they would let the inmates back into the facilities. But the prisoners are being forced back into a smoke-damaged building contaminated with carbon monoxide from the fire. The facility now has little or no ventilation since windows have been boarded up.


The Geo Group already has more than 2,800 prisoners in a facility meant to hold 2,400.


Now, GEO guards are trying to force them to be held in the hallways and in around the cells.


To see more on the Reeves County Facility:



Reeves County Detention Complex

98 West County Road 204

Pecos, TX 79772

Go to map

TEL: (432) 447.2926

Fax: (432) 447.9224

Facility Operator: GEO Group

This is a Private facility




Frontera NorteSur


February 2, 2009


Immigration News


Immigrant Prisoners Stage Uprising


Details are still sketchy of an inmate uprising at a privately-operated federal detention facility in West Texas last Saturday. Reports in the US and Mexican press suggest the revolt, involving hundreds prisoners at the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos, Texas, erupted after complaints of poor medical treatment went unheeded.


Initial accounts report the uprising spanned two days, with inmates setting fires and possibly even seizing guards' radio communication equipment. An  unidentified Reeves County official earlier told El Diario de El Paso the situation was "dangerous" inside the facility managed by the Geo Group.


The uprising is now declared over, and as many as 700 former Pecos prisoners are reportedly confined at another detention center in Sierra Blanca, Texas, because sleeping areas were destroyed during Saturday's rebellion. Many of the inmates at the Pecos prison were held on immigration law violations.


The January 31 uprising was the second time inmates have staged violent protests at the prison in a period of less than two months. Although a complete assessment of injuries and property damages was not officially disclosed, at least three inmates could have been injured and hospitalized in the latest incident.


Managed by the Florida-based Geo Group, the Pecos facility is among many immigrant detention centers in the United States currently run by private companies. The jail has a capacity of 2,400 inmates, according to information posted on Geo Group's web site.


Formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, Geo Group calls itself a "world leader" in the privatized management of correctional institutions. According to the company's web site, "The North American market is growing rapidly, and we are focused on expanding Federal procurement opportunities."


Geo Group reported raking in $1.024 billion in revenues during 2007, with income totaling nearly $42 million. Besides the United States, the company manages prisons in several nations, including the United Kingdom, where it also provides immigrant detention services.


Sources: El Paso Times, February 2, 2009. Article by Stephanie Sanchez. Newspaper Tree/Associated Press, February 2, 2009. El Diario de El Paso, February 2, 2009. Article by Nancy Gonzalez. Lapolaka.com, February 2, 2009. Thegeogroupinc.com. Investing.businessweek.com


Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news

Center for Latin American and Border Studies

New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico


For a free electronic subscription email fnsnews@nmsu.edu



Arnoldo Garcia

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Red Nacional Pro Derechos Inmigrantes y Refugiados

310 8th Street Suite 303

Oakland, CA 94607

Tel (510) 465-1984 ext. 305

Fax (510) 465-1885






At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sheriff Arpaio Chains Together Immigrants and Forces March
February 4, 2009 by Guest Blogger
Filed under: Immigration
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By Dan Weiss

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix, AZ will chain together hundreds of detained immigrants tomorrow and force them to march out of a detention facility and into a “Tent City”.

Arpaio’s Maricopa County office released a media advisory titled, Arpaio Orders Move of Hundreds of Illegal Aliens to Their Own Tent City, that can be described as eerily familiar to the first phase of Nazi Germany’s anti-Semitic propaganda. The statement describes detainees being housed in an outdoor city of tents surrounded by an electric fence, with misbehavior punishable by forced labor on a chain gang.

They will be treated like all other inmates incarcerated here with two exceptions. Arpaio wants them to be instructed in American immigration laws, as a way to help them understand that the violation of these laws has serious consequences not only to them but to society as a whole. And anyone found to violate jail rules, may end up on a chain gang. This chain gang will work to clean the areas of the valley, which have been impacted by human trafficking trade.

The release even quotes Arpaio himself:

“This is a population of criminals more adept perhaps at escape,” the Sheriff says. “But this is a fence they won’t want to scale because they risk receiving quite a shock - literally.”

Wow. One of the more disturbing parts of the statement is the description of when and how the immigrants will be forced to march along with a map and parking instructions for those who wish to witness the event. Parading shackled detainees for public viewing is disgusting.

As a Jewish American it is deeply offensive to see an elected official brazenly flaunt the oppressive treatment of a people whose only crimes were entering the United States without documentation. The dire situation in Arizona is a shameful insult to the democratic freedoms of this country, and should draw cries of outrage from anyone who values the sacrifices our nation has made in the face of oppression.

We’ve seen this pattern in history before. First comes the bigoted propaganda and deprivation of basic human rights, then the intimidation, the detentions, the chains and the forced labor, and sometimes, god forbid, we see the worst. We saw it in Nazi Germany, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the Japanese American Internment Camps, the Trail of Tears…the list goes on.

It’s the same old story. Just with a different tyrant - Joe Arpaio.

*Dan Weiss is a Chicago Hip Hop artist and the coordinator of the Center for New Community’s Hip Hop Project.


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