Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dinner and other things

DETENTION CENTER FOOD PROBLEMS *Detention Center Food Problems* Allegations of spoiled food and air conditioning problems, and no, we're not talking about Food 4 Thought. This story involving some detainees and security guards at the Willacy County detention center who are speaking out about life for two-thousand immigrants. We have obtained internal documentation from the Willacy detention center where not only detainees complain about the conditions inside, but also security guards have recorded in their logbooks dozens of undocumented immigrants that have found maggots in their food. The federal detention center located in Raymondville which houses two-thousand undocumented immigrants has received criticism for allegedly feeding detainees contaminated or rotten food. An action 4 News investigation reveals that in one instance, over 30 detainees reported that the quantity and quality of food are deplorable, an allegation confirmed by at least two security guards. One of those anonymous guards says: "the reason it gets contaminated it's because of the storage facility, they don't have the storage facility. They were trying to blame the companies that supposedly the food is coming in spoiled which is not true." Detainees say they don't have toiletries to keep their most basic sanitary needs, that they have problems communicating with the outside world, nevertheless finding an attorney or any kind of legal assistance. Anthony Matulewicz is an immigration attorney in south Texas and tells action 4 news he's seen what those immigrants go through. "things in Willacy was so bad that I actually saw first hand people eating with their hands" Sais Matulewicz. Security guards have also recorded that 50 detainees complained because they found maggots in their food, and refused to eat. The situation was so bad for an immigrant that he attempted to commit suicide. "He was being moved from one dorm to another because we were having a lot of problems with him. The detainee was depressed, he was hungry and he was not getting enough" said a Willacy detention center security guard. "so he was stealing from the other detainees on the commissary, you know Fritos, candy, whatever they get with their own money". Another detainee reported he lost $99-dollars when he was transferred from del Rio to Laredo,, he says his wife is eagerly awaiting to hear from his my new not so fondly found 'prison' life". Security guards say they can not believe what they see, they make reports and advice superiors but the situation is the same. Detainees are desperate and things may get out of hand. "My concern is that one of these officers one of these days is going to get hurt or one of these officers is going to hurt a detainee" emphasized the security guard. Inside the windowless, dome-shaped tents, they have bunk beds and communal showers. But immigration and customs enforcement officials tell Action 4 News, "we try to maintain the dignity and respect within each person, so the only way we can do that is have a set guideline to follow". But according to security guards two ladies fainted because of air conditioning problems last week, a problem frequently experience during the summer and winter time. Allegations range from giving rotten food to detainees, problems with air conditioning and heating, and immigrants attempting suicide due to what they call inhumane treatment Immigration and customs enforcement also tells Action 4 News they will look into each allegation and get back with us. Immigration officials insist those held at the facility are "detainees" and not prisoners.

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