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Action Alert: Immigrant Detained Inside Etowah County Detention Center Speaks Up as Activists Block Entrance

March 24, 2014

Immigrant Rights Groups Block Entrance to Etowah County Detention Center

Oscar Quintero, currently detained at one of the worst immigrant detention centers in the country, Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama joins the thousands of others across the country who are courageously taking risks every day to expose and denounce the abusive system of immigration detention.

Shortly after President Obama ordered a review for a more “humane” immigration enforcement system, Oscar’s powerful testimony sheds light to the fact that there is no humanity, no justice, and no dignity in detention!

Watch a live stream video of the blockade, as well as read bios and quotes from all participants at the action in front of Etowah.

  • In 2012, Etowah was named one of the worst immigrant detention centers in the country. The conditions experienced by immigrants held at the Etowah County Detention Center are among the worst in the country. The majority of the population locked-up at Etowah, are victims of prolonged or indefinite detention.There they suffer terribly, due to the remote location of the facility and acute chronic conditions, including poor phone and visitation access, the lack of outdoor recreation or access to fresh air or sunlight, inadequate medical and mental health care, meager and barely edible food, and minimal programming.
  • The case of Etowah illustrates how the arbitrary 34,000 bed quota mandated by Congress essentially forces ICE to continue to operate facilities in which innumerable human rights abuses have occurred and where conditions of confinement are not only cruel and inhumane, but don’t even meet ICE’s own detention standards. This is one of the many reasons why Congress should eliminate the bed quota from the FY2015 appropriations bill.
  • ICE should terminate its contract with the Etowah County Sheriff’s office and release immigrants currently held under such abusive conditions. There are no improvements that can be made to the facility that would render it humane. Therefore, closing down Etowah is the only acceptable option.
  • Many of those held at Etowah are there because of mandatory detention. The U.S. has made detention mandatory for certain immigrants, requiring ICE to incarcerate them without a bond hearing or other opportunity to be considered for release. Mandatory detention has created a system so massive and mismanaged that ICE is incapable of overseeing it. Instead, ICE has resorted to outsourcing operations to predatory private prison companies and rural jails seeking to supplement their incomes.
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