Detained and degraded with taxpayers’ dollars
by Pierce Butler
The US Dept of Homeland Security continues to hold Latinx immigrants at the Baker County Detention Center in Macclenny, FL, and the American Civil Liberties Union, after filing multiple complaints on behalf of the detainees, continues to find their conditions intolerable:
- Medical care denied, including blocking medication for a woman who suffered an epidemic seizure at BCDC;
- Inedible food, dirty and stinky clothing and bedding (which has caused numerous infections);
- Beatings, pepper sprayings, racial slurs, excessive use of solitary confinement, voyeurism on female detainees; and
- Blocking access to lawyers and visitors.
DHS inspectors found conditions at BCDC and Glades County Detention Center “unsafe” in 2019, but only Glades lost its federal contract, and only in 2022. Many Glades detainees were transferred to Baker County, where conditions have not improved. Formal grievance procedures, protests, and hunger strikes alike have made no difference.
Though President Biden campaigned in 2020 on fixing immigration policies, after almost three years in office he has done little to change Donald Trump’s abusive and xenophobic approach. Unsurprisingly, he still endures dishonest attacks by Republican politicians who mislead the public by claiming Democrats pamper “illegals” (a term they apply to all darker-skinned non-citizens, even those who apply for asylum using legally-defined processes).
Will Biden ever learn that meeting fanatics and racists “in the middle” does not work?
The ACLU of Florida and many other organizations have filed suit to end the Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract with Baker County, supported by a petition drive (which the public can sign on to at tinyurl.com/Iguana1749, and also get more information on treatment of immigrants and on volunteering to improve their conditions and the policies affecting them.